Christmastime is a terrific opportunity to teach boys and young men in your life important lessons as they naturally ask questions about the nativity and the life of Christ. What did it mean for God to become a man? Why did God become a baby? What was he like? What character traits did he display? What was unique about the life he lived? What implications does his life have for us as men?
Traditional moorings of right and wrong are rapidly eroding in our culture. Increasingly boys are left adrift with confusing messages that either define masculinity as toxic, or question whether it should exist in a manner distinct from femininity at all. This confusion about masculinity is only the tip of a much larger iceberg of significant truths that once grounded and anchored boys as they prepared to break off on their journey into the deep waters of manhood. Too many boys are now drifting in cultural waters of uncertainty unprepared for what they face. Without a source of absolute truth boys are ungrounded, and without men to show them the way, boys are unguided.
Recent statistics show the state of hopelessness now gripping our country. Depression affects nearly 33% of Americans (a 285% increase from 2019) and drug-related deaths increased by 30% over last year. That number disproportionately impacts males. According to recent data, males account for 4 out of 5 suicides in America and 7 out of 10 drug-related deaths. The most rapidly growing suicide rate demographic is boys from the ages of 10 to 14.
Where does a boy find answers? The example of Christ provides direction, clarity and hope. God becoming flesh makes Christianity unique. In taking on the form of a boy who "grew in favor with God and man," Jesus became the template for boys to understand what it means to be a man. Christ came to demonstrate how to honor God and live life to the fullest.
Glenn T. Stanton notes that Jesus “was strong, took responsibility for His actions, served, and provided for others. He looked after and cared for the weak. He spoke truth faithfully and gracefully. He demonstrated integrity in all He did. He was a man under authority. He stood up to and called out the powerful when necessary. He was the highest example of humility, moral strength, self-control, and compassion. He always did the right thing. Finally, He gave Himself completely and fully for others. He withstood and overcame the greatest evil in the universe. He was victorious, and He invites each of us to become the beneficiaries of all that He has done for us! That is manhood.”
This Christmas talk with young men in your life about God becoming flesh. Discuss the challenges Jesus embraced, and listen as they talk about challenges they are facing. Ask questions, hear their hearts, go for a walk together. As they come to understand, help them connect the Christmas story with their own lives and empower them as they seek to live out the biblical masculinity exemplified in the life of Jesus. Anyone who wants to learn what a good man is needs only study and imitate the life of Christ. It is right there for us in the Gospel.