Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | December 14, 2020

The Happy Return of Christmas

The Happiest Season of the Year!

-Merry Christmas

Art by Adele Bower

That wonderful, happy time of the year is almost upon us, Friday the 25th is Christmas. This particular Christmas comes at the end of what has been an exceptional year; the United States is very different from the way it was on Christmas of 2019.

While circumstances may change dramatically, the basic message of Christmas has remained unchanged since its inception in a manger in Bethlehem. God’s message to mankind, beautifully summed up in Luke 2:8-14 tells the simple, yet profound story:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

The enormous significance of Christmas, the First Advent of our Lord, may sometimes get lost in the hustle and bustle of the season and the sometimes frantic preparations that seem to be an inevitable part of the days before Christmas. Circumstances, however frantic and perverse, cannot alter the reality of the First Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ!

For those of us who love the Lord Jesus Christ, this season is a beautiful reminder of our Lord, the wonder of His birth and the enormous significance of the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us.

Four Hundred Years of Silence

The voice of God through His prophets had become silent; for 400 years Israel did not receive any word from God through the prophets. Much had happened that was instrumental in setting the stage for the events that would transpire during the First Advent but there was no word from the Lord; just silence for 400 years.

God was planning to break that silence in the most dramatic way possible; God the Son, the living Word, would be born of a virgin and become flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone. The silence would finally be broken by the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord; the Word of God would be made flesh and dwell among us. We would have a Kinsman/Redeemer, a Savior who would take our place of judgment and die on the cross for the redemption of our sins.

The Birth of the King

It is fascinating to me to reflect on the decisions God made as to the birth of the Son of God. The eternal creator of the universe was not to be born in a palace or even a major city of the time; but was to be born of humble parentage in a small insignificant village named Bethlehem.

Although both were of the line of King David, any association with royalty had faded generations before. His mother, Mary, was a peasant girl and her future husband, Joseph, was a simple carpenter; hardly a likely couple to become the caregivers for the humanity of the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.

All proceeded according to God’s eternal plan and the precious baby was entrusted to humans to care for and love as He grew in stature and wisdom over the early years of His life.

The Shepherds

The Bible describes two events surrounding the birth and early childhood of our Lord. The first had to do with the angelic host appearing to the shepherds. I have read that these particular shepherds and the sheep of their flock were very special; these were the sheep destined for temple sacrifice. How fitting that the announcement of the birth of the Lamb of God, slain before the foundation of the world, should be made to shepherds tending the sheep to be sacrificed on the Temple altar.

The Magi

The second event concerns the arrival of the magi whose number is not specified in Scripture. I have previously written on the magi and the mysterious star they followed and have some strongly held opinions concerning both. The account of the magi is only given in Matthew 2:1-12, and the implications are the magi appeared around two years after the birth of Jesus. I believe these particular magi were of a group founded by the prophet Daniel, and the gifts presented by the magi were placed with that group originally by Daniel himself.

Daniel had prophesied the very day our Lord would enter Jerusalem as the Lamb of God and I believe he instructed the magi to pay particular attention as that time drew closer. I believe the star was in fact the Shekinah Glory of God and led the magi to the place where Jesus was living. While none of this is specified in Scripture, it would explain a lot. I have written more on this in “The Original Star Trek” which I will publish again next week.

Christmas Today

Although the attack on Christmas has momentarily faltered, there are still secular forces that would try and pervert the significance of this celebration of the birth of our Savior. Christmas is still a powerful factor in the lives of many; I think we can all agree that the mood becomes a bit more joyous and happy around Christmas especially in the Christian community.

The traditions of Christmas are always welcome and bring remembrances of Christmas past and the fun and fellowship of family and friends. The traditional Christmas hymns are a great blessing and tell the story of our Lord’s birth with beauty and simplicity.

While we once again celebrate the First Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ; we can also anticipate with great joy the certainty of his Second Advent! Events which were commenced at his First Advent will be consummated at his Second Advent; our beloved Kinsman/Redeemer will restore his creation to the pristine condition originally planned.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

This is an updated version of an essay first published on December 18, 2013.


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