As a materialistic society marks its most material time of the year, the preexistence of Christ reminds us of his priority and preciousness above all created things.
The glory of Christmas is that it is not the beginning of Christ.
Long before that first Christmas, his story had begun — not just in various prophecies, but in a divine person. Christmas may be the opening of the climactic chapter, but it is not the commencement of Christ.
Christmas does indeed mark a conception and a birth. We rehearse Mary’s magnificent song of submission, and the shepherds’ visit to pay homage to her newborn son, and read she “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). For mere humans, no doubt, such is the stuff of our origins. Prior to earthly beginnings, we simply did not exist.
But it is not so with the Son of God. His “coming forth is from of old, from ancient days” (Micah 5:2). Unlike every other human birth, Christmas is not a beginning, but a becoming. Christmas isn’t his start, but his commission. He was not created; he came.
No other human in the history of the world shares in this peculiar glory. As remarkable as his virgin birth is, his preexistence sets him apart even more distinctively, even as he is fully human.
1. He existed before the incarnation.
Jesus Christ existed before he was made man at the incarnation. Jesus himself made the claim, so stunning — and even offensive to first-century Jewish sentiments, so offensive that “they picked up stones to throw at him” — when he said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58–59).
True as it was, this jarring reality didn’t go over much better in John 6. “‘What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?’ . . . After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him” (John 6:62, 66).
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