Advent Devotional: Christmas Eve and Day

Blessed Son of God Woodcarving Nativity Scene

The Mystery of the Incarnation

December 24 & 25, 2018

He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels . . . —I Timothy 3:16

God the Son had lived in all the splendor of his deity from eternity past. Then he was “manifested in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16), born as a child, identical to us in his physical body. This is the mystery of the Incarnation: the Blessed Son of God became the God-man, one person with two natures—a divine nature and a human nature.

Everything Jesus did on this earth he did in a real human body. As an infant, he cried, soiled his clothes, and suckled his mother’s breast. Later, his cheek was kissed by his betrayer. His body was struck and slapped, then nailed with sharp nails to a cross of rough wood. His body was taken down from the cross, wrapped in linen, and laid in a tomb.

But God the Son did not remain in the grave. He was “vindicated by the Spirit” (1 Tim. 3:16). In other words, the Holy Spirit confirmed and proved that Jesus Christ is God’s own Son and the Savior of the world by raising him from the dead.

After Jesus was thus vindicated, he was “seen by angels” (1 Tim. 3:16). He appeared to the principalities and powers of the unseen world, those glorious, supernatural creatures who worship God in heaven and serve him on earth and who were among the first witnesses of the incarnate Christ as they sang to celebrate his birth in Bethlehem (Luke 2:13-14). The angels’ presence is important because it shows that the mystery of godliness is known in heaven as well as on earth.

Since Jesus “was manifested in the flesh,” let us glorify him with our bodies. Let us use our hands to help, our lips to bless, and our minds to serve.

Since Jesus was “vindicated by the Spirit,” let us pray that we ourselves will be vindicated on the day of judgment and given glorious resurrection bodies.

And since Jesus was “seen by angels,” let us join them in their worship around his throne.

What does it mean for us to live worthily of the mystery of godliness?

Let Us Pray

Blessed Son of God, you came to us in human flesh, born into worldly suffering and pain. Give us the courage to glorify you with our bodies, bless you with our lips, and serve you with our minds and hearts. Amen.

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