But after he had pondered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the One conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you shall give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Behold! The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel” (which means, “God with us”).
C.S. Lewis wrote, “The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this. Just as every natural event is the manifestation at a particular place and moment of Nature’s total character, so every particular Christian miracle manifests at a particular place and moment the character and significance of the Incarnation.”
The Incarnation of Christ, which we celebrate on Christmas Day, is the fountainhead of every miracle. But here’s the thing: we have to see the Incarnation in our own lives, in our own hearts, if it’s going to be real for us—if it’s going to be more than a few Christmas songs and cards and niceties every 365 days.
Paul told us that the mystery of the Gospel is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). The glory of Christmas Day is not just the glory of Christ’s birth into the world—although that was a glorious event in itself. That glory continues now. It was replicated with your new birth, and as the miracle of new birth multiplies and more hearts come to the light and believe in Him, the more of the glory of the firstborn Son we see (see John 1:14).
The glory revealed in Christ’s birth is the same glory revealed in your new birth. The glory resident in Christ’s physical body, that healed the sick and freed the demonized, fed the thousands and taught the multitudes, raised the dead and rescued humanity, is the same glory at work in you now, opening your eyes to help you see just how much you really are like Jesus.
The same Spirit who conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb, who planted Jesus into humanity, planted Jesus into your humanity and put Him inside your heart—that Spirit is hidden there, in you, and will be increasingly revealed through you the more childlike you become, the more humble you become, the more you yield to Him.
Our innocence is built from His innocence. Our childlikeness flows from and finds its source in Christ alone. The more we become like the Christ Child in our hearts, the more Christlike we will become. We must see Him in our hearts in order for the world to see Him through us. “God with us,” starting with the Incarnation and now through the new birth, has now come to mean “God within us.”