The famous Christmas hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” reminds us each year of the deep longing and hopeful expectation for the fulfillment of all the messianic promises revealed throughout the history of the Old Testament. This Emmanuel, or “God with us,” would come in the fullness of time to “ransom captive Israel.” On this program, the hosts will take a look at the theology of this classic hymn as they begin a new series on The Meaning of Christmas. Join us on this edition of the White Horse Inn.
“I think one of the hardest times to be a Christian in our contemporary world is at Christmas time because of the conflicting messages that are given. You get this cultural Christmas of gift-giving, Christmas trees, shopping, maxing out your credit card, watching It’s a Wonderful Life. They are just a whole bunch of things about the cultural Christmas that causes us Christians to want to conflate that with Advent. And I’m not going to poo-poo the secular celebration of Christmas and gift-giving but it’s cultural and then you have to keep it that way. Advent for Christians is a time of thinking of the coming of Christ in his person and work.”
Term to Learn
“Humanity of the God-Man”
Q. 37 How did Christ, being the Son of God, become man? A. Christ the Son of God became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance, and born of her, yet without sin.
Q. 38 Why was it requisite that the mediator should be God? A. It was requisite that the mediator should be God, that he might sustain and keep the human nature from sinking under the infinite wrath of God, and the power of death; give worth and efficacy to his sufferings, obedience, and intercession; and to satisfy God’s justice, procure his favor, purchase a peculiar people, give his Spirit to them, conquer all their enemies, and bring them to everlasting salvation.
Q. 39 Why was it requisite that the mediator should be man? A. It was requisite that the mediator should be man, that he might advance our nature, perform obedience to the law, suffer and make intercession for us in our nature, have a fellow-feeling of our infirmities; that we might receive the adoption of sons, and have comfort and access with boldness unto the throne of grace.
Q. 40 Why was it requisite that the mediator should be God and man in one person? A. It was requisite that the mediator, who was to reconcile God and man, should himself be both God and man, and this in one person, that the proper works of each nature might be accepted of God for us, and relied on by us, as the works of the whole person.
(The Westminster Larger Catechism)