The Incarnation is perhaps the most astounding event in our Bibles. And while the profundity of this event is beyond searching out entirely, the Bible gives all that we need to know about it, so that we might think rightly about its significance and its meaning in our lives. Indeed, the more we ponder the Incarnation, the more our hearts and minds ought to wonder in astonishment at God’s grandiosity as well as his nearness to us. And in God’s kindness, we aren’t meant to ponder with uncertainty about the Incarnation and it’s implications, for he has given us specific truths and defined doctrine so that we might rightly understand (as much as we are humanly capable) the magnitude of what it means for God to become a man for us and for our salvation.
The hope of this year’s Advent devotional is to help you think more deeply and more accurately about this momentous event that we spend a month of our year celebrating. While advent calendars and boxwood wreaths and decorated Douglas firs are wonderfully sentimental, the best things about Christmas are theological. As such, the aim of this devotional is to help you ground your celebration of Christmas in the theological, even while you appropriately appreciate the sentimental. We hope that this devotional helps you to gaze in wonder at God’s great gift, which lay on a bed of straw under the Bethlehem sky over 2,000 years ago. We hope that you are helped to marvel at the precision with which God fulfilled his every promise to his people by sending his Son, born of a virgin. We pray that as your mind mulls over the beautiful truths of the Word of the Father now in flesh appearing, that you would likewise treasure up these things in your heart and overflow with praise and thanksgiving to God. And we hope that you are humbled by the truth that the second person of the Trinity, who upholds all things by the word of his power, would humble himself to the point of being held in the arms human beings he created, and eventually have his arms nailed to a cross, so that he might become the only mediator between God and man.
To reach those ends, we are using the direction provided by the historic Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. It aims to articulate succinctly the summation of the Bible’s doctrinal teaching on various topics, ranging from the Scriptures themselves, to the doctrine of justification, to the Lord’s Supper, to the last judgment. Our focus will be on Chapter 8 of the 1689 Confession, which is titled “Of Christ the Mediator.” Even more specifically, we are paying attention to the second paragraph of that chapter. Each entry of this year’s devotional will take a phrase from that paragraph (which is included in full on every page) and then use the Bible and teaching from church history to explain its theological and practical significance.