In the last article we focused on preparing for Christmas the Biblical way so in this article I would like to focus on the importance of Christmas. Many people celebrate Christmas yearly all over the world yet at the same time, many of these same people are just keeping traditions that were passed on to them by their ancestors. When asked the importance of Christmas or why they celebrate, why they do the things they do, like giving gifts, it is hard to get a concrete answer. Many say we celebrate the birth of Jesus during Christmas but if asked “why” the answers get a little fuzzy. In fact, the week leading up to this message I was able to interview people from different religions, people who celebrate Christmas (winter holidays) in one form or the other. I could not get a clear answer from a Muslim, Christian, Hindu, or Hebrew. They all agreed that they celebrate, most even said the birth of Jesus, but the why reason was absent from all, even from the Christian. What is the significance of Christmas in your life? Why do you celebrate Christmas yearly? Is it a tradition that you received from your ancestors or does it really have practical meaning in your life? Do you just go through the motions or do you truly member an important event? Let’s see what the Bible says about the importance of the First Christmas.
The first and foremost miracle of the First Christmas was the fact that about 300 Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled through the birth, life, and death of Jesus Christ, which began to fall into place with His birth. It was foretold through the prophets of old that the Messiah (Christ) would be born from the seed of woman (without the help of a man) or in other words, a virgin birth. When we refer to seed in the Bible, the seed always refers to men yet in this case, in Genesis 3, God speaks plainly to Eve, that the male that will come through her will crush the head of the serpent. The seed of Adam, or help from a human father would not be needed for the birth of the Messiah. I do not want to cover all 300 of them but just a few will be enough. Another prophecy was that the Messiah would be of the lineage of Abraham (from the Hebrews). Mary, the mother of Jesus, was of the nation of Israel, of Abraham’s lineage. Another prophecy is that the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah and be born in the town of Bethlehem. Jesus fulfilled all these requirements upon His birth. The prophet Isaiah is the last prophesies that we will speak about. He wrote his prophecies about half a millennium before the birth of Jesus. Look at what he writes about the birth of the Messiah:
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14)
The Messiah will come through a virgin, just as God revealed in Genesis 3.
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
I would like to point out a few more specific things that Isaiah predicts about the Messiah. First He will be male. Second, He will sit on the throne of David, meaning that He comes from the lineage of David. The evangelist Luke describes the birth of Jesus for us. Luke was a well educated Greek who knew how to research things very well. He studied all of the information of the life of Christ before writing his Gospel. Here is what he reveals:
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33)
Jesus could not choose His birth-place, parents, or sex yet all of these things were just as predicted. He was born a male, to a virgin from the lineage of David. His birth fulfills prophecy after prophecy. I would like to take a look at the lineage of Christ from both His mother’s and His father’s side. The lineage of Joseph is presented in Matthew 1 while the lineage of Mary is presented in Luke 3. I will not take up space with the lineages here but I would like to comment that both sides of Jesus’s family tree lead back to David and Abraham (just as the prophecies foretold). If Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, what significance does that have for me? There are 2 implications, one eternal and the other temporal.
The importance of Christmas and the birth of Christ is the fact that what happened here on this earth some 2,000 years ago has a direct impact in eternity, both yours and mine. All of us have an imperishable soul that will continue on after our physical deaths. The question is, where will eternity be spent? The Bible says that there are 2 options. The first is in the presence of God, or paradise. The second is away from the presence of God, eternal suffering. Look at the implications of the birth of Christ for you and for me
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:16-19)
The birth of Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection open the door to eternity (eternal life) for us. God has shown His love to us by sending His Son to save us. The ball now lies in our court and we must do out part. Our part is to come to the Truth (light) and accept the gift that God offers us. We must accept through faith in order to receive salvation and not perish for eternity in the lake of fire. When a person truly accepts God’s gift, it is evident through his lifestyle. He walks in the light, in the truth of the Word of God. Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever accepted God’s free gift? Has your lifestyle ever been changed by God? These are all the things that we celebrate when we celebrate the birth of Jesus during the Christmas holidays, that He came not to judge and condemn (we are already judged and condemned because of our sins) but instead He came to offer salvation to a lost and dying world, to you and to me.
The final aspect of the reason we celebrate Christmas is the temporal. God did not send Christ to us just for eternity’s sake. God sent Christ to us for daily life and in His Word He teaches us what He has to offer to us on a daily basis, if we choose to accept His gift. I would like to look at Isaiah once again but from a little different perspective.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 6:9)
Jesus wants to be our daily counselor. He wants to be the One to give us advice and guide us on a daily basis in our decision making so that we make decisions that we will not regret. He does this through His Word, the Bible, therefore, it is extremely important that we spend time studying the Bible on a daily basis. Do you spend quality time searching the Scriptures on a daily basis? The next thing that I would like to point out is that He is the Prince of peace. He is able to offer you peace (internally) even if everything around you is falling apart. Who would not want to have this amazing blessing? Do you have peace in every circumstance that life throws your way? Another daily gift that Jesus offers is found in the Gospel of Luke.
“ And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,
Through Christ, our sins are forgiven and we no longer have to walk around with the guilt of our past. We can be as pure in mind as newborn babies if we will accept Christ. Who would not want to receive such an amazing gift? The final two gifts and reasons for celebrating Christmas are found in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke.
And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. (Luke 1:32)
We have salvation from our slavery to sin. Before accepting Christ, the Bible says that we are born into slavery to sin and cannot stop even if we want to stop. Once we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior then we have the power to say “No” to sin and “No” to temptation. Are there sins in your life that you just cannot overcome no matter how hard you try? The answer lies in the greatest Christmas gift of all time, Jesus Christ. The final benefit that we have in accepting Christ is the fact that we have security, eternal security. If we sign up for His team then we know that we are on the winning side because His kingdom is eternal. How much do we need security? How much money are we willing to pay for it? This security cannot be bought with money because it is a gift, yet it is eternal.
As you can see, we have many reasons to celebrate Christmas on a daily basis, because God sent the Lord Jesus to us for our benefit. What about you this Christmas season, wouldn’t you like to receive all the benefits that God has to offer in Christ? Take the step and accept Him as Lord and Savior and you can, not only celebrate Christmas but also truly understand the importance of the fact that on the first Christmas, God sent His salvation into this world.