The Purpose of Christmas – Gospel in Life

The Purpose of Christmas

Tim Keller |  December 19, 1999

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  • Purpose and Calling
  • Doctrine
  • Christmas and Advent
1 John 1:1-4
RS 108-07

1 John 1:1–4

1 John 1:1-4 introduces us to the idea of the incarnation, which is the heart of Christmas. It’s the belief that God became human, and it’s a unique idea that we need to understand to really get what Christmas is about. Everything described in the New Testament actually happened, and without Jesus actually coming, Christmas would be more of a burden than a blessing.

1. Deeply mystical

Fellowship, or “koinonia”, is how we can have a personal relationship with God by knowing Jesus Christ. Because Jesus was human, we can understand God in a real and personal way, seeing His feelings, life events, and actions. Christmas invites us to experience a special friendship with God that no other religion or philosophy can provide.

2. Happily material

The shock of Greek and Roman readers when John said he experienced the eternal shows how revolutionary the Christmas gospel is. It teaches that salvation is about God entering our world, not us escaping it. This means the physical world and our bodies matter, as shown by Jesus becoming human. It inspires Christians to help those in need, living out this gospel. Unlike other religions that see paradise as the ultimate goal, the gospel sees a future of new heavens and a new earth, where our world is restored.

3. Fiercely relational

Jesus becoming human shows us how important it is to have deep, personal relationships. It teaches us to be vulnerable and to connect with people who are different from us, just like in marriage where you have to understand and meet the other person’s needs. If we put other people’s needs before our own, like Jesus did, we can build strong and meaningful relationships.

4. Free to be emotional

“Subterranean joy” is a deep, unshakeable joy that comes from the Christmas message. It’s a joy that stays with us no matter what’s happening around us, because we know that Jesus is our Savior and God’s kingdom is coming. It also shows us the importance of caring about other people’s lives, just like Jesus cared about ours by becoming human. This helps us to have deep relationships and to bravely help others with their needs.



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