Christmas has become the most widely celebrated holiday around the world each year. Thanks to the huge amount of advertising and publicity, Christmas has transcended national and cultural barriers. But even though it is now the biggest and most popular of all our holidays, Christmas is somehow losing its significance. After all, isn’t Christmas the one time each year when people of every persuasion and religion celebrate the highest of human’s values?
We talk and sing of peace on earth, goodwill towards men. We extol the spirit of peace, brotherhood, charity and kindness. It is a time when most of us put everything else on hold while we gather with our families and friends and exchange gifts and celebrate the holidays, and when all is said and done, aren’t those the things that capture the essence of Christmas?
Not quite! It is quite obvious that many people celebrate Christmas, but so few understand what and whom it really commemorates. The challenge we face is that of making Christmas meaningful to our families, to our church, to our world, and our own lives. More than ever before in the history of Christianity, we who believe the Word of God concerning the incarnation of our Lord, have to ask God to help us to become clear so that no one will misunderstand what this is all about.
The passage of scripture before us is a remarkable look at Jesus Christ before and after His birth. Jesus knew He was entering the world to be the final and ultimate sacrifice for sin. His body was divinely prepared by God specifically for that purpose. Jesus was going to die for the sins of the world, and He knew it. Moreover, He was doing this willingly. That was the whole point of the incarnation. The important issue of Christmas is not so much that Jesus came, but why He came. There was no salvation in His birth, nor did the sinless way in which He lived His life have any redemptive force of its own. His example, as flawless as it was, could not save us from our sins. Even His teachings, the greatest truths ever revealed to humanity, could not save us from our sins. There was a price to be paid for humanity’s sin. Someone had to die, and only Jesus could do it.
Yes, Jesus came to earth to reveal God to us. He came to teach the truth. He came to fulfill the law. He came to offer the Kingdom of God. He came to show us how to live. He came to reveal God’s love. He came to bring peace. He came to heal the sick. He came to minister to the needy. But all of those reasons are minor in comparison to His ultimate purpose. He could have done all of those things without the incarnation. He could have appeared like the angel of the Lord did in the Old Testament and accomplished all of those things without literally becoming a man, but His main reason for coming: “He was born to Die.”
Jesus’ death, even though He was despised and executed by men with evil intentions, His death was no tragedy. His death represents the greatest victory over evil that was ever accomplished. As we celebrate this Christmas, let us remember that Jesus:
a. Became our substitute – (Hebrews 2:9)
b. He Pioneered our Salvation – (Hebrews 2:10)
c. He sanctified us – (Hebrews 2: 11 – 13)
d. He conquered Satan – (Hebrews 2: 14)
e. He became our High Priest – (Hebrews 2: 17 – 18)
I invite you to take another look at the manger this Christmas. Look beyond that scene of the manger and see Jesus Himself. He who was born and was eventually crucified, buried, but on the third day rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven. He died for you, He bore your sin, and the sins of the world, and He is now our sympathetic High Priest. He is now seated in Heaven ready to make intercession for us.
This Christmas and always we are told:
“For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of Grace that we may obtain mercy and find Grace to Help in the time of need."
(Hebrew 4: 15 – 16).
My prayer for you this Christmas and always, is that you will obtain Mercy, and find Grace in the time of need. Let us celebrate this Christmas, reflecting on the ultimate purpose for which Christ came. "He was Born to Die".
On behalf of my wife Pauline and I, and the Ministry of the Church of God of Prophecy,
Mid-Atlantic Region, we wish you and your family a very JOYFUL Christmas.