Christmas is coming. That's obvious even to my little girls who are counting down the days. But less obvious is why Christ came. No doubt, we could give the simple Sunday School answer that He came to die on the cross to save us from our sins. And that would certainly be true as Matthew 1:21 says, "and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." But is this the ultimate reason why Christ came? Is this the ultimate reason for the birth of Christ in the cradle and the death of Christ on the cross? There are many reasons why Christ came. We could think of them as "gospel gifts" to us. Gifts such as our justification, redemption, and adoption. These are precious gifts to us and we delight in them. But just as it's easy for a child to delight in a Christmas gift and forget the Giver of that gift, we can do the same with God. We can embrace the gifts of God without embracing God Himself.
When Christ came as a baby in the cradle he fulfilled what the prophet Isaiah had written about him many years before. Matthew 1:23 is a direct quote from Isaiah 7:14 which says, "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us)." God with us. That little phrase is loaded with meaning as it points us to the ultimate reason why Christ came. It shows us that the incarnation of Christ was intended to bring us into community with God.
This truth becomes more clear in Christ's death on the cross. Ephesians 2:13 says, "But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." That's amazing. We were brought near (to God!) by the blood of Christ. The cross brought into community with God. Perhaps the clearest statement in the Bible regarding this truth is found in 1 Peter 3:18 which says, "Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God."
So, what is the ultimate reason why Christ came? Answer: To bring us into community with God so that we would treasure God Himself. John Piper says,
This is the greatest thing Christ died for. This is the greatest good in the good news. Why is that? Because the gospel is the good news that at the cost of his Son's life, God has done everything necessary to enthrall us with what will make us eternally and ever-increasingly happy--namely, himself.
Ultimately, the coming of Christ is to bring us into community with God. The greatest gift of all is not the gifts of the gospel but the Giver of the gospel. From the cradle to the cross (and finally at the consummation) the ultimate reason for Christ's coming is the everlasting community we'll have with our great God.