The Birth of Christ
Jesus, also called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. He left the splendors of heaven to come live on earth, the earth He created, to live with mankind, to suffer pain, hunger and hatred, and finally to be crucified on the cross, the punishment reserved for vile criminals. He did this all because He loved us. "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour." (Ephesians 5:2)
The story of the birth of Christ, of all stories, lies nearest to the heart of Christians. It is one of the greatest miracles of all ages. In it is revealed the love of God to mankind.
Man, through sin, separated himself from the fellowship of God. God promised Adam and Eve a Redeemer after their transgression in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15). It was God's plan to restore or bring back what was lost.
He inspired His prophets to foretell of the coming of their Redeemer. To make it more impressive and that man might be looking for Him, He gave them rituals to observe in their worship pointing to Christ. Through centuries many prophets have spoken of Him as they were led to speak through the Holy Ghost. The patriarch Jacob foretold in the blessing of Judah: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah . . . until Shiloh come" (Genesis 49:10). Moses the great man of God said: "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken" (Deuteronomy 18:15). The prophet Isaiah spoke words which Jesus much later applied to Himself: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives" (Isaiah 61:1). More than seven hundred years before the birth of our Savior the prophet Micah pinpointed the city of His nativity by saying: "But thou Bethlehem . . . out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel" (Micah 5:2). His coming was in a time when gross darkness prevailed, "For behold the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people" (Isaiah 60:2).
The fullness of time had come and the angel of the Lord announced the great event. First Mary was told "that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35), and "thou shalt call His name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Later it was announced to the shepherds who watched their flocks by night, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11). A multitude of the heavenly host in a night chorus praised God saying, "Glory to God" in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14). After the angels were gone into heaven, the shepherds went to behold this wonder of wonders and found it as the angels had made known unto them. Wise men from the east, guided by a star, sought Him and found Him as foretold (Matthew 2:11). Many people marvel at the birth of Jesus and search the Scriptures for details to be assured that Jesus is the only "name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
Jesus confirms this great gift in John 3:16, by saying: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." God gave His Son to be crucified that through this atonement, shedding of His blood, we might have the forgiveness of sins. Now if Jesus had not come into the world, there would have been no atonement. Our salvation depends upon His birth, His death, His resurrection, and our acceptance of Christ as Savior. It is of utmost importance that one believes on the "only begotten of the Father" and accepts Him as his personal Savior. He came to give the more abundant life.
Let all men seek Him, find Him, adore Him and live such lives as are acceptable to Him. Is it possible that Christ's birth is commemorated at Christmas, and Christ Himself should be left out? When this happens, many people attempt to fill the resultant emptiness with glitter and decorations, with things and activities. A sincere Christian seeing the commercialism of the Christmas season will feel that the true Christmas spirit has been lost. Christmas should be a time of rereading and celebrating the timeless holy story. The Christian celebration should not focus on festivities and selfish activities. Let us joyously call to remembrance "what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" (1 John 3:1). "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift" (2 Corinthians 9:15). With the eye of faith and in the spirit of true humble worship, may we, as the wise men, follow the star that leads to the Christ child and give Him our devotion!