Christmas is about revelation, God coming down and making himself savingly known to us. In one of my all-time favorite articles entitled “Why We Need Jesus” Michael Horton reminds us why this is exactly what we need if we’re ever going to encounter a gracious God:
The Incarnation presents to us the odd truth that the particular is not a shadow of the universal, on a lower rung of creaturely things. Rather, the gospel says the most particular thing—a Jewish rabbi in first-century Palestine—is the universal. And we can’t reason, intuit, or experience our way to this reality; we can only meet it first as history.
We hold to this claim for important reasons. First, our “search for the sacred” is warped by idolatry. God is incomprehensible in his essence: immortal, invisible, eternal, unapproachable Light (1 Tim. 6:15-16), the sight of whose face we cannot survive (Ex. 33:20). God doesn’t contradict reason, but transcends it infinitely (Isa. 55:8-9; Rom. 11:33).
If this were all we knew, then we might throw up our hands and conclude with the radical mystics and skeptics that we cannot really know God, at least in a rational way that we can put into words.
However, Scripture tells us more: God stoops to our capacity, accommodating our understanding. We know him according to his works, not his essence. We know that God is merciful, for example, because he has acted mercifully in history and revealed these actions as well as their interpretation through prophets and apostles. We cannot discover God in his hidden essence. And yet, we find him where he has descended to us, in the humility of a feeding trough, a cross, and frail human language.
You can, and should, read the rest of the article here. Not only is it a great article about the mystery of Christmas, but it functions as an introduction to a Reformed doctrine of revelation, as well as Michael Horton’s theology in particular.
Soli Deo Gloria