Christmas and the Incarnation

The Christmas (or Advent) season provides a wonderful time to purposely reflect on the Incarnation of Christ. Here are some quotes from others to help you begin to think carefully and deeply on this wonderful miracle!

“It is no wonder that thoughtful people find the gospel of Jesus Christ hard to believe, for the realities with which it deals pass our understanding… Take the atonement, resurrection, virgin birth, the Gospel miracles, etc…. But in fact the real difficulty, the supreme mystery with which the gospel confronts us, does not lie here at all. It lies not in the Good Friday message of atonement, nor the Easter message of resurrection, but in the Christmas message of Incarnation. The really staggering Christian claim is that Jesus of Nazareth was God made man – that the second person of the Godhead became the “second man” (1 Cor. 15:47), determining human destiny, the second representative head of the race, and that he took humanity without loss of deity, so that Jesus of Nazareth was as truly and fully divine as he was human.”

J. I. Packer, Knowing God. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1973, pgs. 52-53.


Charles Spurgeon preached in 1858 on the wonderful paradoxes of the incarnation:

Infinite, and an infant—
eternal, and yet born of a woman—
Almighty, and yet hanging on a woman’s breast—
supporting the universe, and yet needing to be carried in a mother’s arms—
king of angels, and yet the reputed son of Joseph—
heir of all things and yet the carpenter’s carpenter’s despised son.

Sam Storms also reflects on the paradoxes:

The Word became flesh!
God became human!
the invisible became visible!
the untouchable became touchable!
eternal life experienced temporal death!
the transcendent one descended and drew near!
the unlimited became limited!
the infinite became finite!
the immutable became mutable!
the unbreakable became fragile!
spirit became matter!
eternity entered time!
the independent became dependent!
the almighty became weak!
the loved became the hated!
the exalted was humbled!
glory was subjected to shame!
fame turned into obscurity!
from inexpressible joy to tears of unimaginable grief!
from a throne to a cross!
from ruler to being ruled!
from power to weakness!

“That God would take human flesh, and that not of one of the great and the good but of a child born of apparently dubious parentage to a young woman scarcely more than a child herself, that he would be delivered in a stable – these are things that are an affront to us as human beings. That God would make himself weak and helpless, vulnerable to all of the things that plague this fallen world is outrageous. That he would risk his person through being born in a stable, without even the most rudimentary of medical assistance then available, is ridiculous. Indeed, had one stood at the door of the stable in Bethlehem on that first Christmas night, and seen the tiny mite lying in a manger, it is very doubtful that anyone could have persuaded you that you were gazing upon the very fulfilment of history, the arrival of the last Adam, and were thus in the presence of God himself.

If we are to be rescued and redeemed, we want it to be on our terms, by a redeemer worthy of us: a great and mighty one, powerful in word and deed, one who strikes instant fear and commands immediate respect. It is an insult to us that we should be rescued by one weaker than ourselves. And yet that is the glory of the gospel. Of course, as Paul points out, this gospel foolishness culminates in the cross on Calvary; but it is foreshadowed in the absurdity of the manger. God needs no advice from us; he does not pander to our expectations; the eternal explodes into time, not with a bang, but with the whimper of a new born infant.”

Carl Trueman, Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary