Christmas is the time most people think about the baby in the manger, giving gifts, giving to charities and a season for being nicer to each other. It is the season of short days and long nights made brighter by Christmas lights, love and joy of the season.
We don’t know much about the Jesus’ first dozen years on Earth. Scripture says little about it because it would take the emphasis away from why He came. We know His genealogy and we know the most about His birth and early ministry from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The main focus of all four Gospels, however, is Jesus’ three years of ministry before the Cross.
The shepherds were told (Luke 2:8-12) that the Messiah was born and they’d find the baby lying in a manger in city of David. And so it was – there was in the city of David a babe lying in the manager, just as the angel announced to the shepherds in the Lord’s bright white light of shekinah glory! Simeon (Luke 2:32) declared that this baby was “a light of revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
The Gentiles would see God for who He is – the one and only true God. For the Jews, He is the long awaited Messiah. At the Cross, Jesus would be the Savior for all people who who put their unwavering faith in the perfect sacrifice on the Cross, Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. The birth of Jesus was part of God’s perfect plan to give people a final relief from sin.
We celebrate the birth of the Christ. We are grateful for the suffering of the Cross when this baby in the manager bore the sins of you and me – all of us. Oh they agony of bearing it all! Oh, the victory in overcoming death and rising again!
Jesus was born out of “the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79).
Everyone yearns for their soul to be united with God, even the most horrid person in the world has some yearning to see a way of darkness and the shadow of death. “A light for revelation to the Gentiles” seeks out and reveals Himself to everyone. Some fight it. Some drift towards it. Some are irresistibly drawn to it. At some point (Luke 3:6) “all flesh shall see the salvation of God”. At some point “every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).
The message of Christmas is: “And there is no other God besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God and there is no other. By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance'” (Isaiah 45:21b-23).
The Christmas message that Jesus was born and exists has gone out to most of the world – just go to the store this week before Christmas! “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of great darkness, on them has light shone” (Isaiah 9:2) although they might not see and recognize Christmas for what it really is. “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given…. and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
The message of Christmas is salvation through the glorious Cross. “Bless the LORD, O my soul!” (Psalm 104:1a) “My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever” (Psalm 145:21).