For those who do pro-life work based on a biblical understanding of the value of all human life, this season holds special meaning.
This is the time of year we celebrate the jaw-dropping reality of God taking on human flesh to carry out His plan of redemption for humankind.
We marvel at the compassionate willingness of the Son of God to come to earth as a tiny baby, grow up among us, and ultimately die a cruel death to rescue us from sin and death.
We sing Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel and What Child is This and Oh, Come, let us Adore Him, pondering the depth of divine love for humanity.
Yet as much as we love Christmas, we often think of Easter as the more important celebration.
After all, Jesus’ resurrection is about the Atonement while Christmas is (merely) about the Incarnation. We know that Jesus, laid in a manger at birth, was ultimately headed for the cross and a tomb that could not hold Him.
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As I reflected on this topic, a recent article in Christianity Today magazine titled “Hail the Incarnate Deity” caught my attention.
Author Fred Sanders points out how the Incarnation is broader than the Atonement in that the Son of God took on human nature.
He moved “…into human nature itself, the nature that makes all humans human. He took that nature into personal union with himself.”
What an astonishing thought!
Sanders points out that the word nature has as its root “…the notion of birth, as in natal…to be born is to be natus, to have this nature by having this nativity. Yes, the Nativity recognizes the birth of Christ in the flesh, that is, in human nature.”
(With this insight, Feliz Navidad takes on a whole new meaning!)
Humans are created in the likeness and image of God (Gen. 1:26-27), yet in a deliberate reversal, the Son of God took on our likeness by coming to earth as a human being.
“…Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity." –Philippians 2:5b-7.
Sanders remarks that Jesus “…made himself personally present to humanity in an unprecedentedly intimate way.”
Here’s the crazy thing: that intimate way didn’t begin with Jesus’ birth—it began with his conception.
As Christians who affirm life, our focus on protecting human beings during their prenatal months makes us marvel even more at the concept of the Incarnation.
You see, the Son of God skipped nothing of the human experience, not even the first nine invisible months in the womb.
Just like every human being, he started out as a zygote, then developed into an embryo, then a fetus.
His cells multiplied, his bodily systems began functioning, and his organs formed.
He learned to suck his thumb and kick his feet and recognize the sound of music.
This tender growth and development period did not take place in an environment of wealth and power, but in the womb of a humble teenage girl who belonged to an oppressed people group.
Our wise and sovereign God chose the most vulnerable of paths to come into contact with us.
And so, as pro-life Christians, we ponder the ways of God.
We consider how, in His kingdom, the least are the greatest while those at the top of the heap come tumbling down.
The Incarnation proclaims that the most vulnerable are by no means the most insignificant.
It tells us that every moment and every stage of the human experience is valuable to God.
It clarifies why Jesus said that what we do for the least of these, we do for Him (Matt. 25:40).
Tweet This: The Incarnation tells us that every moment and every stage of the human experience is valuable to God.
This Christmas let’s allow ourselves to be swept away by the wonder of the Incarnation.
Let’s reflect on Jesus taking on our form and likeness, beginning in the womb.
Let’s continue valuing the “least of these” as ones who represent Christ.
And the next time we sing these words penned by Charles Wesley, let’s consider how Christmas deeply affirms the pro-life mission:
Christ, by highest heaven adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord,
late in time behold him come, offspring of the Virgin's womb:
veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail th'incarnate Deity,
pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel.
Hark, the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”