“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Is. 7:14).
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days” (Micah 5:2).
Such a personal moment for Mary – the birth of her first-born son. Hearing His cries, counting His toes and fingers, bathing Him, clothing Him, kissing His face. Yet, what a magnificent moment for all of the world! This was THE pivotal moment in human history. In this private scene God chose to reveal Himself to the world.
Born of a virgin, surrounded by animals in a cave in Bethlehem, Jesus was not plan B for a fallen people. Jesus’ birth, death, burial, and resurrection were the original plan from before the time that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit said “Let there be light” (Gen. 1:3).
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!” (Luke 2:14).
“When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them” (Luke 2:15-18).
The shepherds went with “haste” to find this baby. The word haste means swiftness, an undue eagerness to act. In other words, they ran! They didn’t wait until morning; they didn’t try to find a more convenient time when someone else could take over from their duties … they left immediately to find Jesus!
And after they had seen Him … and worshipped Him … they “returned glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them” (Luke 2:20).
The Christmas story, the story of the birth of Jesus, brings comfort to those who call themselves Christians. We should be eager to go and tell our friends and family about the Good News of Jesus’ birth.
But to the rest of the world, this story seems to be a strange myth. Why would God choose to be born a baby in a manger to a working-class family? How could a virgin conceive a baby? Why would this news be entrusted to hired hands who were working the night shift in a field in Bethlehem? And what does this ancient story have to do with me, today, at the threshold of 2009?
When the Wise Men saw the new star in the sky, they thought they would be worshiping an earthly king. So they went to the logical place – the palace in Jerusalem – to find Him. But they didn’t find Him there.
They had traveled so far, and yet they continued on their journey until they found the young child in a house in Bethlehem. Although they were in humble surroundings, the Wise Men believed they were in the presence of royalty, and they gave this little boy gifts for a man – gifts for a king.
Hundreds of years before, Isaiah had prophesied about this little boy:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Might God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this” (Is. 9:6-7).
Do you know this child, this baby – Jesus? Have you met Him, or are you still trying to understand who He is? May I introduce Him to you today?
The apostle John said of Him, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
John the Baptist said of Him, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
Peter said of Him, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” (Matt. 16:16).
Jesus said of Himself, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Everything about Christmas, from the lights on the tree, to the gifts, to the food on the table, is about Jesus. He has given us all that we have, and He is all that we need.
Christmas is Jesus!
(Originally written as narration for YCBC Worship Choir’s mini-musical, performed December 21, 2008.)