“For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us…”
To experience the true meaning of Christmas requires both knowledge and understanding. Simply said, the Christ child who impacted the world more than any other child in history would not have been recognized, worshipped, or remembered – apart from the long list of prophecies fulfilled by His birth, life, and ministry. Before reading further, please quietly pause to think about this reality. The most important factor in Christmas was being able to recognize Him when He – arrived!
This Christmas, join me on an amazing journey revealing the true meaning of the world’s most important and joyous event! This journey begins not with a story but with the actual, historic, descriptions of God’s interaction with man. The God who is, wanted to become personally known to us!
Therefore, Jesus later explained the many prophesies that had been made about Him by God’s prophets. This was to ensure that we would understand the long-predicted events concerning His reason for coming. On the road to Emmaus, soon after His resurrection, He declared, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:25-27)
As expected, the early prophesies about the Christ child’s long-awaited arrival were each fulfilled as they publicly took place. This can easily be confirmed by simply reading the historic events predicted in the Old Testament and the Hebrew Torah. Remember that understanding the Christ child’s arrival will always require faith, because our Savior was to be miraculously born by a virgin! This was made unmistakably clear by the greatly revered prophet Isaiah who centuries before wrote about Mary and baby Jesus.
No one could duplicate such a miracle. Only God’s Son whose chosen mother – was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, could give birth to this incarnate child (see Matthew 1:18-25 and John 1:14). Isaiah explained this future event saying, “The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and she will name Him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) The name Jesus, given by God’s angel, means Savior (see Matthew 1:21). The name Immanuel, written by Isaiah, means – God with us!
God’s angel spoke to the shepherds saying, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11) The angel’s words, “…to all people…” would soon become historically important. The Christ child would steadily become God’s “light” to the Gentiles throughout the entire world! This was prophesized by Simeon when Mary’s baby was only eight days old and taken to be circumcised. This also explains why most Christians now reading this Christmas devotion are themselves Gentiles. While holding the Christ child in his arms, Simeon’s prophetic words were – He will be, “A light of revelation for the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” (Luke 2:32)
Expectant Mary’s early greeting spoken to Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother, prepared the way for Simeon’s prophesy. Mary, being filled with the Holy Spirit said, “His mercy extends to all those who fear Him, from generation to generation.” (Luke 1:50) God’s mercy being announced by Mary was fully and wonderfully inclusive. It would even include the Gentiles – like the wise men who would soon be traveling in faith to worship Him!
There have never been any accidents, mistakes, or incidents of untruthfulness with our Creator. He is entirely Holy! As prophesized, the angels sent by Him to proclaim the Savior’s arrival only spoke to the humble shepherds near Bethlehem, not to those in any other Judean community (see Luke 2:10-11). This small village known as the city of David had long been the expected location for the Christ child’s arrival (see Micah 5:2). Every single – prophecy about Him had to specifically be fulfilled, and there were over fifty, so His identity would be unmistakable.
“And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as was His custom, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and He stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, and He rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.” (Luke 4:15-18, 20)
As a reminder of where our Christmas journey started – recognizing, worshipping, and remembering the Christ child always depended on prophesies being fulfilled. If authentic, this virgin-born child would later speak with authority like Moses (Deuteronomy 8:15), proclaim the truth in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1-2), and eventually be persecuted. In past tense, our Old Testament prophetically declares, “But He was pierced for our offenses, He was crushed for our wrongdoings; the punishment for our well-being was laid upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) All this had to actually happen, or baby Jesus was – not the Christ!
The expected Christ child must someday be betrayed by a friend (Psalm 41:9) for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13), be falsely accused, yet remain silent (Isaiah 53:7). He must also be crucified while his torturers gambled for his clothes (Psalm 22:18), but experience no physical corruption, and rise from the dead on the third day (Psalm 16:10). Finally, He must ascend back to His Father as He explained to His disciples (see John 14:2-3). Are you now feeling what you are reading? Only those who do not study both the Old and New Testaments can fail to understand the magnificent truth of who the Christ child was!
This Christmas we celebrate the historic, public arrival, and victorious life of God’s dear Son. Heaven’s Christmas gift – was eternal life for all who would recognize, value, and receive it. Those who don’t receive it will fail to experience the timeless purpose for the Christ child’s coming!
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever will believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Have a truly blessed Christmas!
By Billie Hanks Jr.