Christmas: Celebration of Jesus’ birth in God’s exact image
Christmas: Celebration of Jesus’ Birth in God’s Exact Image. Over 2000 years ago, a messenger Gabriel from God appeared before a Jewish virgin named Mary and told her that she would have a son by name Jesus who would be the Son of God.
Over 2000 years ago, a messenger Gabriel from God appeared before a Jewish virgin named Mary and told her that she would have a son by name Jesus who would be the Son of God. Though confused about this sudden disclosure, she composed her thoughts and said, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Before she was betrothed, she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. The Angel also revealed the background to her would-be husband Joseph. Then they had travelled to Bethlehem from Nazareth to get their names registered for a census ordered by the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus. As there was no accommodation for their stay due to heavy rush, Mary gave birth to her child in a stable. She laid the child in the manger.
It was a night of great significance. Darkness had enveloped the cold, crisp night’s silvery fog. Shattering the darkness, there appeared an angel to shepherds who were keeping a watch on their flocks to protect them from the hungry roving wolves and marauders. He brought the message for which the Jewish people had for long been waiting. The glory of the Lord was shining around the shepherds. They were both awed and terrified.
But the Angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I am here with good news for you which will bring great joy to all the people. This very day in David’s town your Saviour was born --- Christ the Lord! And, this is what will prove it to you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” The shepherds came to see first-hand the things the Angel had told them.
This indeed was an amazing event! The birth of the Son of God---the coming of the Saviour of the world---was announced to a group of humble shepherds by the Christmas angels. And that was the miracle of Christmas---that a baby could be so decisive and epoch-making. Later, three Wise Men from the eastern countries sighted a star in the sky that signified the birth of Jesus --- a new King. Led by the star, they came to Bethlehem with gifts of gold, frankincense, and worshipped Jesus.
But very few had really believed in the tidings brought by Isaiah as revealed to him by God in a vision. “Who would have believed what we have now announced? Who could have seen the Lord’s hand in this?” But it was the will of God that this child should grow like a plant taking root in dry ground. He did not look special. Nor did he have any special glory. He was shamed and forsaken by his friends. He knew sickness very well. People did not even notice him.
But he took, instead, people’s troubles upon himself. “He took away our pain, and we thought God was punishing him. But he was given pain to suffer for the wrong things that we did. He was crushed for our guilt. A debt we owed --- our punishment was given to him. We were forgiven because of the pain he suffered. But all of us wandered away like sheep.” Jesus showed us how God’s favour was with the poor and downtrodden people. Gentiles made up most of the Christian world.
He gave sight to the blind. He made the palsied walk. He ordered the evil spirits to come out of the possessed people. He showed the path of peace and co-existence. He loved children much and said, “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to people that are like these little children. I tell you the truth. You must accept the Kingdom of God like a little child accepts things, or you will never enter it.” The social life he advocated was beyond the reach of the so-called present-day socialism and communism. That is the Kingdom of God where all are equal before God.
God further revealed to Isaiah: “My good servant will make many people free from guilt; he will carry their sins. For this reason, I will make him a great man among people. He will have a share of all things with the people that are strong. I will do this for him because he gave his life for the people, and he died.” But people said he was a criminal. However, the truth is that he carried away the sins of many people. And now he speaks for people that have sinned.
This exemplary super representative of the people on earth, Jesus Christ, is the eternal Son of God. He taught what true obedience means. He was superior to the Prophets of the Old Testament, to the angels and to Moses himself. God has declared him to be the eternal High Priest to provide salvation. The believer is saved through Jesus from sin, fear and death.
And this true savior of mankind and itinerant preacher never held any office. He never had a family nor did he own a house. He did not go to college. He had no credentials but himself. Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race. All the armies that ever marched, all navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one solitary life: Lord Jesus Christ.
Heralding his birth, Christmas angels brought the message of love and peace which the world so desperately needs. The angelic multitude thus sang: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.” They also brought the message of joy and hope; and faith and commitment.
However, was Jesus born on Christmas day as people celebrate it all over the world? But no one knows exactly what day Jesus was born and the year of birth. In 336 A.D., the Western Church based in Rome chose December 25 to celebrate as Christmas, which means Christ’s Mass. But the Eastern Church decided on January 6. The day was named Epiphany, meaning ‘appearance.’ Ultimately the period from December 25 to January 6 every year became known as the Twelve days of Christmas.
In Christ there is hope for all men, all nations, and all races. God’s love encompasses all. No one must need to scorn that person whom God loves. And so, at this Christmas time greet one another with profound love and esteem now and forever. The day breaks and the shadows flee. He has come as a gift of God to men and women within a manger bed, but not in a silver box, or in paper green and red. That is Christmas.