Sermon 4


How easy it is to miss the magnificence of the story of Christmas. We know the facts. We have heard about the shep - herds, the Magi, and Mary and Joseph. And because we’re familiar with the story, it’s easy to miss its incredible power. In difficult times as well as in good times, this is precisely the message we need to hear. It is our basis of hope, our source of strength, and our reason for joy.

Let’s look at the story with fresh eyes and address the basic questions once more. If you were hearing the Christmas story for the very first time, you might ask several questions: Who was this man Jesus, and what makes His birth so significant? What was the purpose of His coming? What difference does this make in my life?


Was Jesus just another man or was He someone special? Was Jesus, as some say, the Son of God or not?

At the beginning of his biography of Jesus, the apostle John writes: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word was with God in the beginning. Through the Word all things were made; without the Word nothing was made that has been made. In the Word was life, and that life was the light of men. The light of the Word shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:1-5).

John says that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” This is an incredible idea. It’s incredible because of what John told us in those opening words. Let me read them again, substituting “Jesus” for “Word.”

“In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God. Jesus was with God in the beginning. Through Jesus all things were made; without Jesus nothing was made that has been made. In Jesus was life, and that life was the light of men. The light of Jesus shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:1-5). 

Do you hear what John is saying? He says Christ was preexistent. Jesus was and is God! He was the agent of creation. He was the Creator. He is the source of life.

The idea of God becoming man sounds crazy. But look at the evidence. He claimed to be God. He claimed divine authority. He claimed divine power. He even applied to Himself the divine names “I Am” and “Son of Man.” He lived a life free from sin and mistakes. When the soldiers came to arrest Him (not for a crime but because He was getting too popular), the church leaders couldn’t find anything valid with which to charge Him. Jesus performed miracles that changed people, circumstances, and even the weather. He fulfilled prophecies uttered hundreds of years before His birth.

Based on this evidence, we can conclude that Jesus was indeed God in human form. But this leads to our second question. If Jesus was God, why would He bother with mere humans when we are barely specks in the infinite universe in which we live?


To answer this question, you may quote a Bible verse: John 3:16. In the most famous verse of the Bible, John tells us that Jesus came to earth to make it possible for you and me to live forever in God’s presence. When Jesus became human, He did several things:

He declared His love for us. God became man so that He could communicate His love to us. Most of us feel that we have disappointed God. We say, “I sure hope God grades on a curve.” We know we have made mistakes. Consequently, we feel that God could not really love us. But Jesus came to earth to tell us in person that God does love us. Read 1 John 4:10 “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

God didn’t declare His love because we were deserving; He did it because He was loving. Jesus was God’s love song to us. The birth of Christ is God saying, “You matter to me.” Jesus came to tell us that we are loved.

He demonstrated His love for us. God became man not only to declare His love, but also to demonstrate it. In each of the verses we looked at earlier, there is an additional idea. John 3 talks about God “giving” His Son. In 1 John we read about Christ making “an atoning sacrifice” for sin.

Jesus came to demonstrate His love by dying in our place. The cross and the cradle go hand in hand. He was born so He could die. God’s standards are unflinching. Wrong is dealt with. Sin is punished. The truth is, we are so in debt that we are morally and spiritually bankrupt. We deserve hell. And most of us know it.

Christ came to set us free from the past so we could walk with Him. Christmas reminds us of the depth of God’s love and points us to the reason we have hope for the future.


God became man to tell us that He loves us and wants to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves. Now what? Understanding Christ’s incarnation leads to two important decisions.

How will I respond? If you understand what Christmas is about, then you are faced with a decision: Will you accept what God offers, or will you merely discuss the theological implications? Will you receive His forgiveness or just think about it? Will you respond to His love, or will you put it off for another day? These are the questions our belief in Jesus provokes. These are the questions of Christmas.

The message of Christmas is the message you need to hear. God became man to declare and demonstrate His love, to pay your debt, and to set you free. All you have to do is take His hand and follow His lead. Have you done that? Have you responded to that great Christmas gift? If not, why not?

How will I act? There is one more response that God wants from us. He wants us to rest in Him, but He also wants us to love one another (1 John 4:11). As John tells us, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us” (1 John 4:9-12).

When we receive Christ, we also experience love, perhaps for the first time in our lives. When we experience God’s love, we feel compelled to share that love with others. Christmas is a great time to do just that. This Christmas I encourage you to show genuine love to each other. Christmas is our chance to show others the love of Jesus.


Christmas reminds us that we are not alone. God sees us. He loves us. Christmas reminds us that there is a wonderful reason for hope.

Christmas is not about gifts, programs, or family gatherings. Those are not the reason for the season; Jesus is the reason. God became man because of His great love for us.

General Conference Ministerial Association