What You Should Know at Christmas
First, let’s not worry about whether December 25 is the correct day to celebrate. That just does not matter. What does matter is that God became flesh and dwelt among us. What also matters is why He did that. In the Gospel of John is the answer (John1:9-14 and John 3:16).
The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
Zacharias and Elizabeth were childless but God fixed that for them (Luke 1:5-25) In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, her cousin Mary receives word that she (a virgin) will conceive. She immediately goes to Elizabeth until the baby John is born. (Luke 1:26-58).
By now, Mary is three months pregnant and is beginning to show. Joseph (her fiance) is upset and plans to quietly end the relationship until he is visited by an angel (Matt 1:18-25). The last verse summarizes the birth event, which is more fully explained in Luke 2:1-38. Because the law required a cleansing period and presenting the baby in the Temple, Joseph apparently found lodging (as a carpenter, he may have constructed a house for them).
After about two years, some visitors come from the East. They had seen something in the heavens on the birth date and organized an expedition to Israel. Because they knew the new child would be a king, they went to Jerusalem. (Matt 2). After they left the palace, a star appeared leading them to the house in Bethlehem where the child (not baby) was, God warned them not to return to Jerusalem and warned Joseph to flee. After some time, they returned to Nazareth. This is summarized in Luke as:
When they finished everything required by God in the Law, they returned to Galilee and their own town, Nazareth. There the child grew strong in body and wise in spirit. And the grace of God was on him.
So this season we give thanks to God that He had a plan to redeem mankind, remembering that (Hebrews 1:1-3)
Going through a long line of prophets, God has been addressing our ancestors in different ways for centuries. Recently he spoke to us directly through his Son. By his Son, God created the world in the beginning, and it will all belong to the Son at the end. This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God’s nature. He holds everything together by what he says—powerful words!