Advent, The Incarnation and Handel’s Messiah

A few short days from American Thanksgiving and we are full speed ahead into the Christmas season – into Advent, the “coming” or “arrival”. Celebrating the coming of Jesus Christ to earth is exactly what Christmas is about. Something dramatic happened, an event that changed the trajectory of human history.

In the midst of fast lane pressure, press of crowds and shouts of bargains let’s pause, catch our breath and consider.

A son was born. God took on human flesh relinquishing properties of deity. God became man and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory – the incarnation. Hardly a casual thing to say so easily – it was THE INCARNATION!
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God….and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten from the Father full of grace and truth.” John 1:1,14.

God became flesh. He came to earth – listen people this is no ordinary event.

Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given. And the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

These powerful statements from Isaiah resonate with the description of our Savior. His birth was foreshadowed. His sacrifice had been planned from Eternity past. It was the only way and He was willing to do this.

He was willing to leave the glorious Presence of God the Father to submit Himself to the birth process, being a baby totally dependent. At first, helpless, He gave up glory to offer glory and life. He was willing to die.

What if there had never been an incarnation? What if God had not become man? Where would we be and what difference would no incarnation make? Oh my, what a mess we would have – a bigger crisis than ever – no resolution to the vandalism of Shalom in the Garden of Eden.

There would be no sinless sacrifice to pay the penalty of death for the sins that separate man from God. There would be no guarantee of life with God after death by accepting the gift. There would be no resurrection after death into the glorious Presence of God.

Because He came we have access to the Father through the Son. The penalty of our sins was paid for by the only One qualified to do so. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Because He came we have a model to live by. Philippians 2: 5-11 “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

The glorious, spectacular announcement by the angels that sun drenched night near Bethlehem is juxtaposed with His humble entrance. The King of Kings was born in a rough, simple, smelly manger in the midst of the animals who shared His birthplace, in the midst of His own creations. 

George Friedrich Handel’s Messiah captures the birth of Christ magnificently. At the end of the manuscript published in 1767 Handel wrote the letters “SDG” – Soli Deo Gloria. Yes, yes, yes – to God be the glory forever and ever…because He came.

Messiah, Chorus: "For Unto us a Child is Born"


Gail Seidel served as Mentor Advisor for Spiritual Formation in the Department of Spiritual Formation and Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and as an Adjunct Professor in the D Min in Spiritual Formation in the D Min Department at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has a BA in English from the University of Texas, a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Seminary and a D Min in Spiritual Formation from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is a contributor to the textbook, Foundations of Spiritual Formation, Kregel Academic. She served as co-director for Christian Women in Partnership Russia with Entrust, an international church leadership-training mission. She and her husband Andy live in Fredericksburg, Texas. They have 2 married children and 6 wonderful grandchildren--Kami, Kourtney, Katie, Mallory, Grayson, and Avery.

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