Only once in David’s Royal City did God become Human

Do you know this sacred music?

Once in royal David’s city,
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby,
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ, her little Child.

He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall:
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior holy.

For He is our childhood’s pattern;
Day by day, like us, He grew;
He was little, weak, and helpless,
Tears and smiles, like us He knew;
And He cares when we are sad,
And he shares when we are glad.

And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love;
For that Child so dear and gentle,
Is our Lord in heaven above:
And He leads His children on,
To the place where He is gone.

Christmas is in the Prepositions

How much theology is in a preposition!¹ Come to the cradle of scripture, as Martin Luther would say: the cradle of scripture is Christ.

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.

Continually Beat the Gospel into your Head! #Counseling

“Justification: Here I must take counsel of the gospel. I must listen to the gospel, which teaches me, not what I ought to do, (for that is the proper office of the law,) but what Jesus Christ the Son of God has done for me : that is, that He suffered and died to deliver me from sin and death. The gospel wills me to receive this, and to believe it. And this is the truth of the gospel. It is also the principal article of all Christian doctrine, wherein the knowledge of all godliness consists.

Most necessary it is, therefore, that we should know this article well, teach it unto others, and beat it into their heads continually.”

–Martin Luther, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians (Philadelphia: Smith, English & Co., 1860), 206.