Many of us began preparing for Christmas and the five ‘F’s a month ago: festivities, family, food, fellowship, and fun. It’s easy to forget one of the most important aspects of the season: forgiveness – and renewed hope. Christmas is the celebration of an actual historical event that forever changed the world, as the God who never changes carried out His plan to change the hearts of mankind.
No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done or what kind of past you’ve had, there’s always hope – if you open up your heart and receive the greatest gift of all. As the song says:
Joy to the world, the Lord is come
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing…
Through the centuries before Christ, the prophets predicted the promised Messiah would come – and from where He would come. Micah 5:2 states:
But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”
According to God’s preordained plan, when the perfect religious, cultural, and political conditions were in place, Jesus Christ left the Father’s presence and entered this world to become one of us. Isaiah 7:14 states:
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel,”
Three of the most astounding words in history are, “God with us.”
Most people don’t have a problem with a baby in a manger, but the same baby we sing about during Christmas grew up and preached repentance to all people only to be killed by hypocritical religious leaders.
An infant in a feeding trough isn’t too confrontational or threatening. But Jesus declared that He is the Truth and the only way to God the Father (John 14:6). This claim is something to seriously consider. Why? Because evidence backed by archaeology, eye-witnesses, and history suggests it’s true.
So what is the meaning of Christmas? At the perfect time, Jesus was born for the purpose of dying for our sins. He lived a sinless life and sacrificed Himself so that we might believe in Him and live eternally. This really is good news! The gospel is the greatest gift God has given the church – because the message about Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the greatest treasure God has given the world.
The Lord sees the end from the beginning and His ways are above our ways. So where was Jesus before coming to earth?
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men; And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-3, 14
But Christmas has been hijacked, secularized, commercialized, and made into a time for businesses to make tons of money, for people to exchange presents (often out of obligation), and for children to make their list of demands and sing meaningless songs such as Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and Frosty the Snowman.
Not all songs are meaningless. Some actually are based upon Scripture: O Holy Night, Away in a Manger, Silent Night, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and O Little Town of Bethlehem.
Not long after Jesus was born, God warned Joseph in a dream to leave Bethlehem, “Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt,” not just to escape Herod’s slaughter of babies, but to fulfill another prophecy!
Because when Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph again in a dream instructing him (Matt. 2:13-16) to move the family to the land of Israel which fulfilled Hosea 11:1, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Paul further explains:
“When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)”
Before the birth of Jesus Christ, mankind was without help and without hope in this world. We needed a Savior.
C. S. Lewis simplified it this way:
“The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God.”
The arrival of the Christ would also not be during peaceful times, but times of injustice, rebellion, the strong hand of government, religious hypocrisy and pride. But that wouldn’t stop the plan as the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary:
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:31-33
A Messiah, the descendant of David? A kingdom that would never end? Son of the Most High God? These are not just random prophecies, and the history of Jesus’ life and ministry isn’t just some fable manufactured by man. Hundreds of prophecies have been fulfilled.
Preaching on the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter declared to the people Jesus:
“…delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again (Acts 2:23-24)…”
And this is our hope: to be resurrected to life after death. This is all temporal; He is eternal.
God sent Jesus (“a Child was born”) so that whoever believes in Him could have everlasting life. “A Son was given.” If you have never received God’s perfect Gift and trusted in Him, why wait? You can have the assurance of salvation right now. That’s what Christmas is all about!
Jesus humbled Himself, set aside His deity, stepped down and set aside His crown of gold to temporarily wear a crown of thorns – that we might wear the crown of life. Believe God’s Word, it’s accuracy and reliability. Christian friend, this is why you and I live: to point others to Christ: the only true hope and lasting peace.
In all the busyness, bad news, and distractions of the season, may your heart prepare Him room. God bless you, stay strong in the truth of Christ; and have a meaningful, Merry Christmas!
*Freedom Project video: