What do chili and Christmas have in common? For most people the two words never go together. Christmas ham or turkey, but never chili! However, early in my Christian life, someone explained the incarnation of the Son of God to me with a phrase including chili. It had nothing to do with hot chili pepper or with the various styles of beans with which chili can be prepared. No, it was the meat! Chile con carne means “chili with meat.” Each Christmas Christians celebrate the “incarna–tion of Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God who came “in flesh” to be born as a human being.
That Jesus became Man without ever ceasing to be God is a divine mystery—two natures in one person. Without the miracle of the Incarnation we could never have been redeemed from our sins nor related to the eternal God. Because of being born spiritually dead in our trespasses and sins, we need the gift of eternal life. Therefore we need someone who had never sinned to die a death that would satisfy God’s justice for all humanity. And we need someone who had the power to provide the gift of life for us. We could not hope to experience it by ourselves because of our sinful nature and the sentence of eternal death. Through the Incarnation the God-Man Jesus was God’s answer to the human dilemma. As a perfect Man, Jesus was provided by God the Father to die a substitutionary death. By raising Him from the dead God defeated death and provided the gift of eternal life for all who believe (Rom. 5:10). The Christmas message prepares us for this message of the Cross. Peter wrote, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross” (1 Pet. 2:24). If Jesus had not become flesh, we could not be saved.
Let me suggest an idea for you this Christmas season. Why not put a red ribbon around a can of “chili” and give it to someone who needs to hear the message of Christmas again. When they look at you as if to say, “You have lost your mind in the mad dash of Christmas,” ask permission to tell them why chili and Christmas can go together—Jesus was God in carne (Incarnate)! Merry Christmas.