“Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which is translated, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
The essence of the Christmas that was can be described by the word “incarnation.” The biblical word ‘carne’ is the Greek word for ‘flesh.” When we consider the Christmas that was, we find ourselves face to face with the incarnation – the miracle that God decided to make human flesh His official residence for 33 years. We date time from the first Christmas because human flesh became God’s address when Christ was born in Bethlehem.
Asked who Jesus is, a little boy answered, “God with skin on.” That’s good theology! When Jesus was born, one of His names was “Emmanuel,” which means God with us.
The Bible also frequently uses the word flesh to mean ‘human nature, unaided by God.’ God knew that our human nature desperately needed supernatural aid. The essence of ‘incarnation‘ when applied to the Christmas that was, demonstrates the reality that we needed God to do something for us that we could not possibly do for ourselves. On that first Christmas Eve God intersected human history with what we might call “The Great Intervention,” that we might experience salvation.
If you carefully read the first chapter of Luke, you will discover that God told a priest what He was going to do and the priest did not believe Him. God responded by shutting the priest’s mouth. Zacharias had the greatest sermon to preach, but lost the opportunity because unbelief shut his mouth.
God told some wise men what He was doing. Those wise men asked the question, “Where is He?” They traveled far searching for Him until they found Him. When they found Him, they worshiped Him and gave gifts to Him.
Dick Woodward, A Christmas Prescription