Christmas: So What?

Do you ever lack motivation in your Christian life? Do you ever find yourself giving in to apathy in your holiness, worship, perseverance, and generosity? 

If you're like me, the answer is a reluctant but honest, “Yes.” Living on this side of glory, we all will face times of apathy, moments when motivation dries up, and days when doing right seems downright difficult.  How can we stay motivated in our battle against sin, our perseverance in suffering, our devotion to worship, and our generosity in giving? 

While there are many ways the New Testament answers these questions, one of the answers is…Christmas. 

The reality of Jesus' Incarnation fuels the fires of our holiness, perseverance, worship, and sacrifice. This is surprising logic indeed. It is not what we might expect. But the New Testament writers saw in the Incarnation tremendous significance for both our eternal salvation and our daily lives. 

While there are many passages that discuss the Incarnation of the Son of God, there are four texts in particular that draw a straight line from Jesus’ Incarnation to our holiness, faithfulness, worship, and generosity. 

Quite simply, advent grace changes everything.  

Advent Grace Empowers our Holiness  (Titus 2:11-14). 

Titus 2:11-14 appeals to both the first coming and the second coming in calling Christians to live “soberly, righteous, and godly in this present age.” Verse 11 says this, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” Quite simply, God’s grace decisively appeared on the stage of history in the birth of Jesus. Advent grace appeared. Advent grace saves. Advent grace transforms. Grace does not merely forgive, but it also renews; it both saves and sanctifies. The same Jesus who modeled a life of self-denial calls us to the same. The manger in Bethlehem epitomizes the self-emptying submission to God’s will that must mark us. The grace unleashed in Bethlehem's manger has been unleashed in our hearts, transforming our affections, subverting our values, and lifting our gaze to eternity. 

Advent Grace Fuels our Faithfulness (2 Timothy 1:8-14). 

Let’s face it: none of us like hardship. We do all we can to avoid it. Yet, the Christian life is one of difficulty, temptation, persecution, and suffering. In 2 Timothy 1:8-14, Paul urges his protege, Timothy, to be bold and unashamed of the gospel. This call to bold faithfulness in both verses 8 and 12 brackets Paul’s rich and complex argument in this paragraph. In between, in verses 9-11, we find the reason for such boldness: God has saved us through the “appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death.”

In other words, Jesus’ appearing at Christmas empowers our perseverance by unleashing divine grace, defeating death, and conveying concrete confidence as we face opposition. That for which we suffer is neither myth nor symbol; it is historical reality. It is not cheap sentiment, but sovereign grace. And when we suffer, we rest in the glorious conquest of the Death-Defeater. All this is ours because of Christmas grace. 

Advent Grace Inspires our Worship (Hebrews 2:5-18). 

We worship that which we admire. We only praise that which we prize. The book of Hebrews is one big argument for the supremacy of Jesus, written to Jewish Christians considering an ill-advised return to the old ways of Judaism and legalism. Why return to the shadows, argues the anonymous author, when you have the reality? 

Hebrews 2:5-18 serves this greater purpose by declaring the jaw-dropping purposes in Christ’s Incarnation. God the Son (see Hebrews 1:1-3) came to earth, assuming a full human nature so He could restore man’s lost status (Hebrews 2:5-9), receive sinners as sons (Hebrews 2:10-13), destroy the devil’s domination over death (Hebrews 2:14-15), and finally, to represent us as our Great High Priest (Hebrews 2:16-18). This is rich, soul-stirring doctrine. It is a Grand Canyon of truth—deep, complex, and inexhaustible. It leads to an inevitable result: worship. Jesus Christ is God incarnate, a Savior who is glorious, majestic, and supremely attractive to repentant sinners and anguished sufferers. All those who gaze in faith at these truths must, in awe, fall down and worship this Jesus. 

Advent Grace Generates Generosity (2 Corinthians 8:9). 

In this text, Paul calls the Corinthian church to generous sacrifice. But he has no stomach for guilt-induced giving or grudging generosity. Rather, he is after free-will sacrifice. 

So, to stir up genuine generosity, he points to the grace of Christ revealed in His Incarnation. The Incarnation was a riches-to-rags event that enables our rags-to-riches transformation. Such divine generosity demonstrated to us should engender generosity within us. One of the signs that you have truly tasted grace is that you will readily extend it to others. Advent grace generates joyful generosity (8:1-2), sacrificial generosity (8:3), eager generosity (8:4), and personal generosity (8:5). All those who have been gripped by advent grace hold their possessions lightly. Those who have seen Christ's generosity in coming to earth cannot soon turn a blind eye to needs around them. Advent grace generates our generosity. 


For the Christian, Christmas is not simply a past event to be remembered; it is a present motivation to be embraced. The Incarnation is more than a necessary link in the chain of our redemption. Its significance is greater than its place on the path to the cross. It is both a model and motivation to living the Christian life. It changes everything, empowering our holiness, fueling our faithfulness, inspiring our worship, and generating our generosity. 

When you find self-serving lust more appealing than self-denying obedience, look to the baby in the manger, the Word made flesh. 

When you want to be silent when you should speak, remember the glorious grace of God revealed in His Son’s decisive appearance on the stage of history. 

When you wake up on December 26 lacking the desire to worship Jesus, remember the truth celebrated on December 25. 

When you want to turn in and greedily hoard your resources, consider the Christ who made Himself poor for our enrichment. 

Truly, advent grace changes everything. Has it changed you?


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