Joseph Tkach: Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. But this Christmas marks the beginning of a transition period for me. I’ll be stepping down as President of Grace Communion International and passing the baton to Greg Williams. You’ll be seeing more of Greg here on Speaking of Life, too. Over the coming year, Greg will begin sharing his passion for our Triune Lord and continue giving us more insight into what it really means to live life in Jesus Christ incarnationally. I’ll continue listening in the coming years as Greg and other presenters continue to bring us these important messages.
Greg Williams: Thanks, Joe. Christmas is my favorite holiday, too. It’s more than just a single day — it’s an entire season! Here in America you “hear” the Christmas season before you see it. That’s because radio stations start playing Christmas music almost as early as the week before Thanksgiving! But you know what? I really like that.
Because many of the songs we hear are steeped in some really solid theology. I’m not talking about “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” or “Here Comes Santa Claus” (although I like those, too). I’m talking about “O Holy Night,” Handel’s “Messiah,” or one of my personal favorite Christmas carols, “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Every year, we sing it at a midnight service at my church. I’ve always been struck by how the lyrics mirror and condense some of the most difficult theology into bite-size chunks. Listen to this section —
“God of God, light of light, Lo he abhors not the Virgin’s womb; Very God, begotten, not created: O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”
It’s an echo of the Nicene Creed. But there’s more. The next verse reaffirms one of the great central tenants of incarnational theology —
“Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning; Jesus, to thee be glory given! Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing! O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”
I love that phrase — “Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing” — that is the great promise of Christ’s identity — the word made flesh. Begotten, not made. Born as a child in a manger. That is the great miracle of Christmas: that God the Father gave us his Son, to redeem us and bring us back into right relationship with him, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Just like the carol commands us, I imagine that knowing that, all of us are moved to remember and adore Christ the Lord.
I’m glad to be picking up the Speaking of Life baton, and I look forward to seeing you all soon. But until then, from all of us at GCI, Merry Christmas and God bless you and yours!