Throughout this week I am going to share some daily encouragement (gems I have found in my studies) on the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Hopefully, as we consider the biblical truths surrounding His birth, we can all slow down and celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. As you are encouraged… please share with others the hope of Christ this Christmas season! (The running commentary is from The Incarnation in the Gospels)
 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.  He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.  The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.  He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (ESV)
A Witness to the Light
If we were to take a poll asking people what is the world’s greatest need, the answers would be many. Some would say we must end world hunger. Others would say we need to provide education to all. Still others would suggest an end to all wars, or point to the environment with a call for the end to pollution. A famous song from the ′60s said, “All you need is love,” while some today look to self-esteem as our cure-all.
But according to the gospel of John, the world’s great need is belief in Jesus Christ. He wrote his gospel to show that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). What a blessing it is, then, that God has sent us witnesses to Jesus. This is the point of John 1:6–7, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light.”
John 1:6–8 emphasizes the witness of John the Baptist, through whom God gave Israel the gift of a witness to Christ: “He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him” (John 1:7). John’s importance is proved by his inclusion in all four gospels. The other three gospels give more details of his ministry, calling Israel to be baptized to show their repentance and to prepare for the Messiah. But the emphasis in John is the Baptist’s role as a witness to Jesus. Jesus said, “He was a burning and shining lamp” (John 5:35), and through his witness many of John’s disciples went on to become Jesus’ disciples.
John the Baptist’s example shows us how we can be good witnesses to Christ. Indeed, this is yet another witness to the gospel that God intends for our world today: the witness of his faithful people. What better Christmas gift can we give to Jesus than to tell others about him!
The True Light
If we are looking for a summary statement to focus our witness to Jesus, we can find it in John 1:9, “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.” The word true carries the idea of genuine or real. There may be other lights in the world, ideas or products that satisfy us partly and for a time. But Jesus is the true light: no other light can show us the truth about God and ourselves, about life and eternity; no other light can inspire us to become what we truly were meant to be or convey the power needed to change our hearts; and no other light will guide us “in paths of righteousness” (Ps. 23:3), so that our souls arrive safely in heaven.
The greatest thing about Christ’s true light is what it does for everyone whose heart opens to receive it in faith. John tells us, “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12–13).
Faith means believing and receiving Jesus Christ as he has revealed himself—in his person, his character, and his saving work. It is not enough to have vague notions about Jesus. People say, “I believe in Jesus,” meaning that they accept that he existed or even appreciate him in some sense. But that is not what is meant by receiving Jesus Christ and it does not constitute saving faith. Faith requires us personally to receive Jesus as he has offered himself as the Savior for our sins.
Light for a Darkened World
Jesus came into the world with a purpose, to bring his light into darkness: “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:9). This does not mean that everyone actually believes on Jesus, as the following verses prove, but rather that Christ’s light has shined on the whole human race. Some people turn away from that light, but in his coming Jesus has nonetheless brought light to us.
This is why what John 1:10 describes is one of the greatest tragedies in the world, “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.” When Jesus was born, and even when he ministered in the power and grace of God, the world did not recognize him as its Savior. What a tragedy! An even greater tragedy is recorded in verse 11: “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” Here, John is pointing to the particular people called to be Christ’s own, the nation of Israel.
So let us shine the light, telling people about Jesus, risking our comfort and, yes, if needed, even our lives. Let us take Christ to those who do not know him—whether around the corner or around the world. Let us not merely decorate our homes with Christmas candles, but let us be Christmas candles that shine Christ’s light throughout the world. Despite every kind of opposition—spiritual darkness, moral evil, ingratitude, and pride—let us believe the power that Jesus has to overcome the greatest opposition. For though the world does not know him, he will make himself known to many through us. Then they will join us as bearers of Christ’s light, and we will together live and walk in that light forever as dearly beloved children of God.
 Daniel M. Doriani, Philip Graham Ryken, and Richard D. Phillips, The Incarnation in the Gospels, ed. Daniel M. Doriani, Philip Graham Ryken, and Richard D. Phillips, Reformed Expository Commentary (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2008), 161–173.