Jim Denison commented: Reflecting on Christmas, Oswald Chambers asked: “Have I allowed my personal life to become a ‘Bethlehem’ for the Son of God?” Then he noted: “The characteristic of the new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that Christ is formed in me. Immediately Christ is formed in me, His nature begins to work through me.”

Chambers concluded: “God manifest in the flesh—that is what is made profoundly possible for you and me by the Redemption.” We cannot be like Christ without the help of Christ. God’s ambition for us is not that we would try harder to avoid sin and imitate Christ. The character of Jesus — “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”—is the “fruit of the Spirit” and thus made possible by the power of the Spirit.

One of Satan’s subtlest strategies is tempting us to resist his temptations in our strength. In this way, he uses our desire to be godly against us. The more we resolve to do better, the less we depend on the only Power that can truly make us better. Then Christianity becomes just another religion—another attempt by humans to reach up to God—instead of a relationship in which our Father transforms us to “become like His Son.”

How can we be certain our Father can do this? Because of the reality of Christmas. C. S. Lewis: “The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this.” In short, if God could become one of us, He can make us one with Himself.

Many years ago, the actor Kirk Douglas was a guest on Johnny Carson’s late-night television show. The two celebrities discussed the experience of being recognized everywhere they went, with people pestering them because of their fame.

Then Douglas told about the time he was driving his car and picked up a hitchhiking sailor. When the sailor opened the door and saw the famous actor, his jaw dropped and he exclaimed, “Do you know who you are?” Douglas said it was a good question, one he’d been thinking about ever since. Christmas tells us who God thinks you are. Do you agree?