The Sermon on the Mount is not your typical Christmas Day sermon, but it can bring so much more of the significance of the Incarnation to light. Jesus sets the bar unreachably high for us to meet on our own. We could never stand a chance of making it, but that makes the grace of Christ—the gift of the Incarnation—so much sweeter, showing not only how far lost we are, but how far the cross has brought us up to God.
As we celebrate the birth of Christ during Advent, we also celebrate the advent of the Kingdom of God on earth. With His Kingdom, Jesus ministry brings light to the darkness of our lives and the grace of repentance—the possibility of change—where once our lives were ruled by our corruption, depravity and death and the futility of our own efforts improve our lot.
Humility is one of the most important things that we can find in the Incarnation and one of the most significant of the Christian character values, but it is also the hardest to live out. We try to make ourselves humble through our own efforts by serving more and more people and by just telling ourselves every morning to think of ourselves less, but in the end that all fails and still displays the pride of our hearts. We can only be truly humble by staring at and wrapping ourselves in the humility of Christ’s birth, life and death.
If we’re willing to be honest with ourselves, very rarely do we pay much attention to the genealogy at the beginning of the New Testament. It is precisely this though, that Matthew chooses as the start of his gospel. Who are all of these people in this ancestry, why are they announced the way that they are and how do they enhance our view of Christ, whose Incarnation they precede?