Mary’s Boy Child and the Incarnation of God on Christmas Day

Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day. And man will live forevermore, because of Christmas Day.”

These are the opening lyrics to “Mary’s Boy Child” as performed by Boney M. It was the first song on the radio I heard as I was leaving the mechanic’s shop after getting my oil changed today. And for me it is such a good reminder of just what Christmas is all about. Christmas is about the Incarnation of God into the world. It is about God loving His creation so much, that He chose to become part of it. Since Jesus chose to become a man we can know God and become like God. We can “live forevermore because of Christmas Day”. 

Here are the rest of the lyrics:

Long time ago in Bethlehem, so the Holy Bible say,
Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ, was born on Christmas Day.

Hark, now hear the angels sing, a king was born today,
And man will live for evermore, because of Christmas Day.
Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ, was born on Christmas Day.

While shepherds watch their flock by night,
They see a bright new shining star,
They hear a choir sing a song, the music seem to come from afar.

Hark, now hear the angels sing, a king was born today,
And man will live for evermore, because of Christmas Day.

For a moment the world was aglow, all the bells rang out
There were tears of joy and laughter, people shouted
“Let everyone know, there is hope for all to find peace.”

Now Joseph and his wife, Mary, came to Bethlehem that night,
They found no place to bear her child, not a single room was in sight.

And then they found a little nook, in a stable all forlorn,
And in a manger cold ‘n’ dark, Mary’s little boy was born.

Hark, now hear the angels sing, a king was born today,
And man will live for evermore, because of Christmas Day.
Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ, was born on Christmas Day.

Oh a moment the world was a glow, all the bells rang out
There were tears of joy and laughter, people shouted
“let everyone know, there is hope for all to find peace”.

Click here for the music video – it’s pretty groovy!


Still, this message stands in stark contrast to our present circumstances. In fact, 2020 has been quite the year. The pandemic has caused misery the world over. Not only have people suffered and died from the disease ravaging our home, but many have lost their jobs, their businesses, their way of life. Hunger, poverty, and depression have gone unchecked. Drug use has increased, abuse is rampant, and the suicide rate is on the rise. 2020 has been a bleak year and has perhaps seen more suffering since before the fall of the Soviet Union. But despite all the reasons to despair, the birth of Christ gives us reason to hope. After all, hope is best understood in the midst of darkness just as a lamp is best seen at night.

As I’m writing this I’m thinking about a couple of gentlemen associated with my alma mater who passed away recently. These deaths are especially impactful because it is such a small university. It really does feel like home and family at times. The first I heard about was the professor who oversaw the school of business. He was an older middle-aged gentleman named Steve who loved the university dearly. You never failed to see him at different functions, working with students, or else just visiting in the cafeteria at lunch with a plethora of people. 

Steve was an ardent supporter of athletics. You’d see him at the soccer games in the cold and blustering Oklahoma wind or in the harsh summer heat at softball and baseball games. He was even known to travel many hours to attend away games. Steve could also be seen stopping by music concerts, campus ministry activities, and other school functions as well. Additionally, he had the opportunity to mentor many students through both the campus discipleship program and through his classes. Steve did all this to support his students.. You could tell that Steve saw his students as his mission from God. He loved them and did his best to help them in their various circumstances. I truly saw in Steve the love of God for his students and any staff/faculty member he was around. 

The second gentleman was not an employee of the university I attended, he was a retired man who had been a missionary and teacher in Russia. His name was George. Now George would come and sit in the cafeteria (and sometimes came to chapel) with a sign that read “please join me for a Bible discussion”. Often he would sit there for several hours waiting for a student (or staff/faculty member) to come along and talk with him. To be honest, I didn’t get to know George that well. I wasn’t courageous enough to sit with him more than once or twice (or if someone had invited him to sit with us). However, I generally kept my space because I knew that, with an ego the size of Texas, I would have made it a polemical debate and not an opportunity to learn more. In hindsight I know I had a lot to learn from George and wish I had been a more humble learner.

Though I lacked courage, George sure didn’t. I respected his ability to show up several times a week and often sit alone. He did not give up. But usually there would be at least 1 day a week I saw someone conversing with him. I also appreciated how George was doing this out of his love for God. Being retired he had plenty of free time. He could have been golfing or painting or any other retired activities. Yet he was at a Christian university taking time to know students and help them understand the Bible better.  What better way to love God than sharing the Good News of the Incarnation?

In both these men I saw the Incarnation become incarnate. For we are made in the image of Christ. Both Steve and George rendered to God what was His, the image in which they were made. They sought to love God using the gifts they had been given. Their passing is a grievous heartache to their loved ones. However they are merely asleep for we know that Jesus is the God of the living and not the dead. After all Paul exhorts the Corinthians:

But the fact is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man death came, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. Now I say this, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?” But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be firm, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 15:20-22, 50, 53-55, 57-58

As Christians, we do not believe that physical death is the end for Steve and George. We know they have victory over death in Christ Jesus our Lord. Steve and George have put on the imperishable. They are now as the angels. Steve and George stand among the saints and are actively praying for us now – just as the early Christians believed. Their work done in their physical bodies was not done in vain and continues on with them in the Kingdom of Heaven. Neither will our service to God be in vain when we do His will. In Christ we have victory over death.

This is why the Incarnation is the cornerstone of hope. After all the prophet prophesied about Jesus that “the stone which the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone; this came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” In Christ’s death, there is victory. In Christ’s resurrection, there is hope. The demons flee before the power and glory of the risen Christ so that we do not have to fear them anymore. 

This Christmas season, when death and suffering is all around us, remember that the Incarnation came so we could have everlasting life. And this is what it means to be like God: to put on the imperishable, to love, to hope, to suffer, to repent, to believe in the work of Christ our Lord and savior. Remember:

“Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day. And man will live forevermore, because of Christmas Day.” 

Steve and George and all the rest of us who have faith in Christ will live forevermore because of the Incarnation of God on Christmas Day.

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