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Summary: A brief devotional (about 10 minutes) great for a Christmas program where only a short, targeted thought about the Incanation is needed. This is part of another of my sermons, Do You See What I See.

The Mystery of History (Devotional)

Chuck Sligh

December 24, 2011

A 3-slide PowerPoint presentation of this short message is available by emailing me at chucksligh@hotmail.com.


TEXT: Matthew 1:23 – “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”


The greatest “mystery of history” is why the Son of God would humble Himself and become a human like us.

Look at what the end of the verse we just read says: “they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” The key word in this verse is the preposition “with.” He is God “with” us!…

• Not only God OVER us—as would be fitting, since He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and Ruler of the universe.

• Not only God FOR us, as the gracious Lord who abundantly gives us His grace.

• Not only God IN us, which is what He becomes when He saves us.

• But God WITH us—ONE of us; God who gave up the glorious palaces of heaven…who sacrificed the privileges that come with being very God…who dwelt amongst uswho lived as we live…who ate as we eat…who spoke with a human tongue as we do…who was tempted as we are tempted (yet, unlike us, without sin)who suffered as we suffer…WHO DIED AS WE DIE!


For centuries, people have speculated why God had to become a man. Why couldn’t He just provide salvation some other way? Why did Jesus have to come in the flesh?

Listen to this little story titled The Parable of the Birds, by Louis Cassels:

Once upon a time, there was a man who looked upon Christmas as a lot of humbug. He wasn’t a Scrooge. He was a very kind and decent person, generous to his family, upright in all his dealings with other men. But he didn’t believe all that stuff about an incarnation which churches proclaim at Christmas. And he was too honest to pretend that he did. “I am truly sorry to distress you.” he told his wife, who was a faithful Christian. “But I simply cannot understand this claim that God became man. man. It doesn’t mike any sense to me.”

On Christmas Eve, his wife and children went to church for the midnight service. He declined an invitation to accompany them.

“I’d feel like a hypocrite,” he explained. “I’d much rather stay at home. But I’ll wait up for you.”

Shortly after his family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window and watched the flurries getting heavier and heavier.

If we must have Christmas, he reflected, it’s nice to have a white one.

He went back to his chair by the fireside and began to read his newspaper. A few minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound. It was quickly followed by another, then another. He thought that someone must be throwing snowballs at his window.

When he went to the front door to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They had been caught in the storm and in a desperate search for shelter had tried to fly through his window.

I can’t let those poor creatures lie there and freeze, he thought, but how can I help them?

Then he remembered the barn where the children’s pony was stabled. It would provide a warm shelter. He quickly put on his coat and galoshes and tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on the light.

But the birds didn’t come in.

Food will bring them in, he thought. So he hurried back to the house for bread crumbs, which he sprinkled on the snow to make a trail into the barn. To his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow.

He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around and waving his arms. They scattered in every direction…except into the warm, lighted barn.

If only I could be a bird myself for a few minutes, perhaps I could lead them to safety, he thought.

Just at that moment the church bells began to ring. He stood silently for awhile, listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. Then he sank to his knees in the snow.

“Now I understand,” he whispered. “Now I see why you had to do it.”

That story a simple but beautiful way to explain the mystery of Christmas.

The Apostle John put it this way in John 1: 14: “And the Word [speaking of Jesus who was God the Son and creator of the universe, as John tells us earlier in the chapter…And the Word] was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

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