God became human. On a quiet night, Mary gave birth to our savior. Few people were there; he came into the world vulnerable. He came to save us. Heaven rejoiced.

It’s easy to forget about the humanity of Christ. We think about Jesus and we immediately think about the miracle worker that multiplies the loaves and walks on water. We think about an empty tomb and a glorified body. We picture Christ at the transfiguration and we imagine Christ the King on a heavenly throne.

But Jesus was fully human as he was fully divine. He was also a son to Mary and Joseph and a friend to the disciples. He felt a full range of human emotions. Jesus laughed and cried, felt fear and anger. He came into the world as a baby that needed to learn to walk and talk.

We cannot gloss over the humanity of Christ today. If we allow ourselves to forget that Jesus was fully human as he was divine we diminish his passion. Jesus felt anxiety and even fear as the hour approached.

He felt every strike of the whip.

Each nail.

The thorns digging into his head.

He could’ve stopped it, but didn’t. He felt it all and bore it all for you. Because on that first Christmas, Jesus was born with a mission that was fulfilled over thirty years later. His mission was to save us. His mission was to defeat death. To set us free. To give us life.

And to do that, he took on our humanity and experienced death, and all that comes along with it. Our God loves us so tremendously that he suffers for us. When we are hurting and suffering, Jesus looks at us from the cross and bears our pain. When we are betrayed and denied by our friends, Jesus walks with us, knowing the same sting. When we are mocked, our Lord hangs his head under a sign that reads, “King of the Jews.”

Today, look upon Christ – not a distant God, but our God who became one of us so we could become like him. Our God who came into the world vulnerable so we could be strong for him. Few were there at his birth, fewer at his death.

But today, we can boldly approach that cross. Today, we look upon the broken body of Christ that is given for us. We recall the love Jesus has for us, that he would will a humiliating and painful death, so we could live.

Joel Stepanek
Joel Stepanek


Joel Stepanek has been actively and passionately involved in youth ministry for over 10 years. What began as a simple internship in a parish youth ministry office evolved into an incredible adventure that led him on numerous middle school lock ins, high school retreats, and ultimately to meet his wife, Colleen, who is a campus minister. Joel is the Director of Resource Development for Life Teen International where he creates engaging youth ministry resources for middle and high school students. He received his Master’s degree in religious education with an emphasis in youth and young adult ministry from Fordham University. Joel is an avid Packer fan, loves cooking, running, and spending time with his wife and son, Elijah Daniel.