First, the preposition with
Christ is with us. In Isaiah 7 “the heart of the people shook like the trees in the wind” because they were on the verge of disintegration. Isaiah came to King Ahaz to comfort him, but Ahaz refused comfort. Nevertheless, Isaiah gave them a word and a sign. The word: calm down and do not fear. The sign: A virgin shall conceive and give birth to a son, the Christ. Just when the people of God were threatened with abandonment, the people were asking: where is God? Isaiah said: “God is with us.” Not a brief visit, but God incarnated into humanity forever.
Secondly, the preposition for
Christ is for us. Interestingly, when people suffer (Satan wreaking havoc) they imagine that God is not for them. Worst than saying everything is against us, we say “God is against us.” Christmas says that God is for us. He is on our side, and He will cause everything to work for us (Romans 8:28, 32-33).
Thirdly, the preposition in
Christ is not only with us and for us, He is in us. Christ enters into our center of being, our heart, and into our very identity.
Christmas is about three prepositions. Christ be with me; Christ be for me; Christ be in me.
There are three doctrines: the incarnation, the atonement, and the ascension.
There are three Persons of the Trinity: The Father affirms creation, the Son atones for us; and the Spirit indwells us.
Are you lonely? Christ is with us.
Are you guilty? Christ died for us.
Are you empty? Christ reigns in our hearts.
Christmas is about three prepositions.
¹John Stott preached a similar outline to this, and i found it helpful as a Christmas meditation.