What Does Chalcedon Have To Do With Christmas?

Chalcedon is a city in Turkey that was the sight of the ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451. The Council of Chalcedon produced the Chalcedonian Definition which explains the incarnation of Christ.

The Chalcedonian Definition says that Jesus Christ was one person in two natures—fully human and fully divine. This means that . . .

  • At the moment of incarnation, Christ was fully man and fully God, being fully God from eternity.
  • In the incarnation, Christ not only assumed flesh, he assumed a human mind and human will (i.e., fully human).
  • In the incarnation, Christ was fully human and fully divine, both natures concurring at the same time in one person.

What does this have to do with Christmas?

When we celebrate Christmas, whether we know it or not, we are celebrating what the Chalcedonian Definition articulates about Jesus. Beautifully summarizing the Scripture teaching on the incarnation, Chalcedon says that in the incarnation Jesus became the God-man.

 

And this is relevant for us for the same reason Christmas is relevant. Christmas is relevant because God condescended “for us and for our salvation.” Without Christmas there is no cross and resurrection. And without the cross and resurrection, “we are still in our sins” (1 Cor 15:17).

As you gather around the Christmas tree with friends and family, in conjunction with reading the Christmas story from Scripture, read and reflect on the exquisite and exact words that came from the city of Chalcedon over 1,500 years ago:

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach men to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and the same perfect in manhood, the same truly God and truly man, of a reasonable soul and body; consubstantial with the Father according to the Godhead, and the same consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages from the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days the same, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the God-bearer, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son and only begotten, God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the prophets from the beginning have declared concerning him, and the Lord Jesus Christ himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.

Amen and Merry Christmas!

Pastor Dan