Our families, if we are fortunate enough to have them, are a special part of our celebrations at this time of year. We look forward to gathering together to catch up with those we rarely see. We enjoy our Christmas dinner and exchanging presents. It’s a time when we can all get caught up in the hype that starts months before in September. Our supermarkets tempt us with cut price offers of boxes of sweets, biscuits and chocolates. Christmas puddings, cakes and mince pies make their appearance by early October! We look forward to giving and receiving gifts.
How many people in our increasingly Godless and materialistic society will spare a thought for the birth of Jesus, the Christ (Messiah), in Bethlehem? Almighty God, in His love for humankind, sent us all a marvellous present, the gift of His Only Son, the pathway to salvation for those who trust in Jesus and in God, his Father.
The story is simple. God chose Mary, a virgin, to be the mother of His beloved Son. The angel Gabriel was sent to tell Mary. “ And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” … The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God.” (Luke 1:30-33,35)
And so Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the city of his ancestor King David, as foretold by the prophet Micah so many years before. “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 …” (Micah 5:2)
Why was the Son of the Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth, born in such poor and humble surroundings? This humble birth sends an amazing message to us all. The All Powerful God chose to give us the gift of His Only Beloved Son Jesus, our Saviour and King, born as one of us, to reveal God’s character and His plan of salvation. Jesus told his disciple Philip “… he who has seen me has seen the Father …” (John 14:9)
The baby born in Bethlehem resisted sin all his life. Jesus lived a perfect sinless life He is our Saviour and High Priest who, by his death, is the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all who would try to follow his example. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that “… we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
So, as we look forward to Christmas, we must always remember why Jesus was born and give our grateful thanks to God for His Gift, Jesus the Saviour, who is described by the apostle Paul as “God’s unspeakable gift.” (2 Corinthians 2:15)