If Christmas was in June, we could stop dreaming of a white Christmas, and Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer would not have been invented.
So much of our Christmas traditions are the result of the holiday being held in mid-winter. But Christmas is not in mid-winter everywhere.
Several years ago I was in Australia for Christmas and there December is in the middle of summer. So I was looking forward to a hot, sunny Christmas, but it rained all day!
Christmas could have been held in June, because we do not know exactly when Jesus was born. But it would make no difference to the meaning of Christmas, since it is all about the birth of Jesus Christ and God’s gift to sinful men and women of a Saviour.
It is about the greatest miracle of all, when God became man. The theological word which describes this is incarnation, which means ‘in the flesh’. Listen how the apostle John describes this in John 1:14: ‘The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us’.
John has already told us, in that Bible chapter, that the Word was God. God became man in the person of Jesus Christ. He identified himself with man in a way he had never done before.
God has always been with his people. He was with Moses when Moses led the people in the Exodus. He was with David when David fought Goliath. If he was not with them, they could never have been successful.
But in Jesus God is with us, not merely by helping us, but by taking human nature, so that Jesus was the God/Man.
The reason for this full identification of God with us is explained in Hebrews 2:17-18: ‘For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted’.
Jesus had to become a man in order to make atonement for man’s sins. It was man who had broken God’s law and sinned, therefore it had to be man who would pay the penalty for that sin. But there was no man qualified to do this, so God became man in the person of Jesus Christ and did for us what was crucial to our salvation.
Yet Jesus always was more than a man. Twenty-five times in the Gospels he calls himself the Son of God. He is ‘Emmanuel’, which means ‘God with us’.
In Jesus, God was with us in a very different way from being with Moses and David. He took human nature and identified himself with us in a way the Old Testament believers never experienced.
Jesus is both fully and truly man and fully and truly God. He is not part man and part God, but in his person two natures coexist perfectly at the same time.
The sinner’s only hope rests on this great truth of who Jesus is, because God can only be known through the Lord Jesus Christ.