Bible Society of South Africa
Hennie Symington

Change, Advent and Christmas – Day 8

Let’s get real about Christmas

Bible text(s)

The Word of Life

1In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Mt 3.1–12Mk 1.1–8Lk 3.1–18

14The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father's only Son.

Mt 3.1–12Mk 1.1–8Lk 3.1–18

(Num 9.15–23)

34Then the cloud covered the Tent and the dazzling light of the LORD's presence filled it. 35Because of this, Moses could not go into the Tent.

Exodus 40:34-35GNBOpen in Bible reader

4But when the right time finally came, God sent his own Son. He came as the son of a human mother and lived under the Jewish Law,

Galatians 4:4GNBOpen in Bible reader

14Well then, the Lord himself will give you a sign: a young woman who is pregnant will have a son and will name him ‘Immanuel.’

Isaiah 7:14GNBOpen in Bible reader

When it comes to the origins of Christmas, try to separate fact from time-honoured fiction. There were visitors from the east, but we don’t know if they were kings/wise men/wizards and we don’t know if their names were Melchior, Balthazar and Gaspar. It doesn’t say so in the Bible. They weren’t anywhere near the stable on the night of Christ’s birth. In Matthew 2:11, we read that they found him in a house. The animals, even if they had been present in the cave or shelter where Jesus was born, would have had no inkling of who he was or what his mission to earth would have been, and if they “lowed”, they would have done so because that’s what cattle do. In fact, the various stories of his birth found in Matthew and Luke differ vastly, while Mark does not mention this remarkable event at all. So, what can we believe about Christ’s birth?

Firstly, that it was not an unexpected event. One Old Testament prophecy after another spoke of the Messiah, the Anointed One, who would come to redeem the people of God. It is accepted by most believers that Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary, in fulfilment of Isaiah’s prediction in Isaiah 7:14 which says: Well then, the Lord himself will give you a sign: a young woman who is pregnant will have a son and will name him ‘Immanuel’.

From a more theologically descriptive point of view, John says that the eternal and divine Word became flesh and that God, thus, “tabernacled” among us. In effect, it means that the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, is both God and human united in one person.

Why did God become a man? To redeem his creation and rule over it. In his role as Lord and King, he reveals God to men. That, in short, is what Christmas is about. Nothing more, nothing less, but more than enough reason to celebrate his birth with praise, joy and thanksgiving, in the most fitting manner you can dream of.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.14.1
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