THE BIRTH OF CHRIST
“Christmas is the annual Christian festival celebrating Christ’s birth, held on December 25 in the Western Church. The traditional date goes back as far as A.D. 273.”1
When we celebrate Christmas, we are celebrating the moment in history when prophecy was fulfilled. God came to be with us. It was the beginning of God’s redemptive plan for humanity. An act He didn’t have to take part in but He chose to out of love.2
The central truth of the Christmas story is this: the Child of Christmas is God; Christmas is not about the Savior’s infancy; it is about His deity. The humble birth of Jesus Christ was never intended to conceal the reality that God was being born into the world. Without forsaking His divine nature or diminishing His deity, He was born into our world as a tiny infant. He was fully human, with all the needs and emotions that are common to us all. Yet He was also fully God—all wise and all powerful.3
It was only in the Babe of Bethlehem that the whole of God’s character shone forth, that men might not merely find Him and bow before Him, but trust in Him and love Him, as one who could be touched with the feeling of their infirmities. A God in need! A God weak! A God fed by mortal woman! A God wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger! God has been through the pains of infancy from the nature of the babe on its mother’s bosom, to the nature of the full-grown and full-souled man, fighting with all his powers against the evil of the world. All this is His, and He is all; that no human being, from the strongest to the weakest, from the oldest to the youngest, but may be able to say, “What I am, Christ has been!4
Christmas is not about pretending that everything is great and we don’t struggle or suffer. Christmas is about acknowledging that sometimes things are not great and we do struggle and suffer, even at Christmas—and that God knows this, God hears us, and God has got involved for us. You live in a world that has been visited by its Maker. God showed up. God didn’t send Moses. God came himself. That’s how committed he is to your good.5
[W]e are all poor and desperate, so we all need the promise bound up in that baby. We are in need of a way out of our poverty of soul and the desperate state of our human condition. We find it in this child lying in a manger, who was and is Jesus Christ, the long-promised Messiah, Seed, Redeemer, and King.6
“For all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Cor 1:20 ESV).
(5) Shepherds Rejoice
1. Rachel Dawson, “What is Christmas: Understanding the History and Origin,” 03 November 2020, Crosswalk, 06 April 2021 https://www.crosswalk.com/special-coverage/christmas-and-advent/what-is-christmas-understanding-the-history-and-origin.html.
2. Brittany Rust, “What is the Meaning of Christmas?” 01 December 2020, Crosswalk, 06 April 2021 https://www.crosswalk.com/special-coverage/christmas-and-advent/what-is-the-true-meaning-of-christmas.html.
3. “What is the Real Meaning of Christmas?” Grace To You, 06 April 2021 https://www.gty.org/library/questions/QA70/what-is-the-real-meaning-of-christmas.
4. C. Kingsley, “Commentary on Luke 2:7,” 1905-1909, StudyLight, 06 April 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tbi/luke-2.html.
5. Matt Chandler, An Even Better Christmas (thegoodbook company, The Village Church, 2018) 25.
6. Stephen Nichols, “The Real Meaning of Christmas,” 04 December 2020, Ligonier, 06 April 2021 https://www.ligonier.org/blog/real-meaning-christmas/.
7. Isaac Watts, The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1997) 292.
8. Watts, 497.
9. John W. Work, adapter, “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” Hymnary, 06 April 2021 https://hymnary.org/text/while_shepherds_kept_their_watching.
10. Nahum Tate, “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks,” 1700, Hymnary, 06 April 2021 https://hymnary.org/text/while_shepherds_watched_their_flocks_by.
11. Isaac Watts, The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1997) 497.
12. “The Spirit of the LORD GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1 ESV);
13. John Gill, “Commentary on Isaiah 9:6,” The New John gill Exposition of the Entire Bible, 06 April 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentary/isaiah/9-6.html#verse-geb.