Christmas is a battle between two world-views. On one side, like an uncircumcised Philistine, stands Materialism. On the other, the armies of the Living God, shaking in their boots despite the fact that God has come in the flesh. Materialism is like an Orc, it is a twisted version of something beautiful. That something is the Incarnation. And the Armies of Israel should defy the giant, and sling a stone at his forehead.
For decades now, we’ve been told that the universe is governed by cold, brute “forces”, which the scientists like to call laws. Gravity. Chemical processes. Ecosystems. Nuclear fission. Second law of thermodynamics. “All that we see and touch can be explained,” so the white lab coats tell us. But then they wax eloquent about the beauty and glory of mathematical formulas, the boundlessness of space, the wonder of the animal spirit, and the mysteries of physics.
But the Materialist has no basis to call anything good, beautiful, or even true. If matter is all there is, then nothing actually matters. Our emotions are identical with a shook up can of Dr. Pepper.
However, this Goliath of our day has a smooth stone coming for his brow. That stone is the announcement which took place in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. There it was told to a virgin that she would bear a Son, miraculously, and this child would be a true human child, but whose origin was from eternity. His name would be Immanuel, God with us. In other words, the transcendent God drew so near to us that we could see, hear, and touch Him. The Incarnation is a big fancy word that we use to describe what took place when God became a man. Jesus did not cease to be God, nor did he ever become God. He was God. But God now had a material body.
Which means that the matter of this world was now joined to God not only in a relationship of Creator/created, but by a Redeemer/redeemed relationship. God had come to save the world, and redeem it from the curse. Man’s salvation has implications for the whole material world. It groans, we are told, for the adoption, “the redemption of our body (Rom. 8:23).”
The Materialist believes that stuff is all there is, and ends up with nothing. It can’t explain beauty, joy, glory, or goodness. But the Incarnation bridges the divide between God and man, Creator and creature. Now, in Christ, our body and soul is promised resurrection. Our final state is not one of disembodied ghoulishness. No, we will eat, drink, laugh, play, in a material world which will have been resurrected to glory.
So, Christmas is a celebration of the Incarnation, which means we should not just give each other the ethereal “Christmas Spirit.” We should give each other stuff. Things. Molecules of matter. God gave us Himself, wrapped in human clay, in order to redeem the whole created world. So smoke a pork shoulder, give diamond earrings, snuggle under a fleece blanket with piping hot chocolate, sing with vocal cords, lift up holy hands in praise, and enjoy the blessings which God has filled this world with and redeemed by His own blood.