Let us continue our discussion on Christmas. Do you still remember the hymn; The First Christmas the Angels did say was to certain poor shepherds? It is a 16th century English hymn of French origin, but first published in 1833 First Noel, the Angels did say was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay in fields where they lay keeping their sheep on a cold winter’s night that was so deep. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel Born is the King of Israel! They looked up and saw a star shining in the East beyond them far and to the earth it gave great light and so it continued both day and night. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel Born is the King of Israel!
Why Christmas? It was essentially, to fulfil prophecy. (Gal 4:4) Ã¢â‚¬Å“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Albert Douglas, in God’s Answers to man’s Questions, Greenville, MSC, 1983, gives four reasons for the virgin birth of Christ as: To reveal God(Jhn 1:18); to bridge the chasm or a big gap between God and man (1 Tim 2:5); to save men (Heb 2:14); to rescue the whole creation (Rom 8:19-22) Where? Bethlehem. But why Bethlehem? You ask. It had been foretold that God incarnate would come through a small city. The prophet, Micah had foretold it Matt 2:6 Ã¢â‚¬Å“And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Matt 2:7 Ã¢â‚¬Å“Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Matthew Henry comments that the humble city was probably chosen as another mark of humility for Christ. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It was a mark of humiliation put upon the Lord Jesus that though he was the Desire of all nations, yet his coming into the world was little observed and taken notice of, his birth was obscure and unregarded: herein he emptied himself, and made himself of no reputation. If the Son of God must be brought into the world, one might justly expect that he should be received with all the ceremony possible; that crowns and sceptres should immediately have been laid at his feet, and that the high and mighty princes of the world should have been his humble servants.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The meaning or etymology of the word ‘ Bethlehem’ …It was also called Beth-lehem Ephratah ( Micah 5:2 ), Beth-lehem-judah ( 1 Samuel 17:12 ), and “the city of David” ( Luke 2:4 ). Bethlehem bears the modern name of Beit-Lahm, i.e., “house of flesh.” In Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Ã¢â‚¬ËœLehemÃ¢â‚¬â„¢, is bread in Hebrew but also lamb or flesh in Arabic. Whatever your linguistics, Hebrew or Arabic, Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus; He is the Bread of life. John 6:35 Ã¢â‚¬Å“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Will you receive Him today and receive the Bread of Life that gives eternal life? Or The Lamb of God (John 1:29) Ã¢â‚¬Å“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.Ã¢â‚¬Â
For whom is Christmas? To all humanity, read Luke 2:10 Ã¢â‚¬Å“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.Ã¢â‚¬Â What a season of hope, and of joy; the Advent; coming of baby Jesus, God, incarnate! God joined in our wretched humanity. Let us look at the personalities or characters in the drama of the First Christmas. The poor, the oppressed; to those who grovel under poverty and lack, want could be of need of material, or want of relationship love, assurance, hope; there is no end to human needs and wants, unless you have self-control. Christ can provide you these needs, (Luke 2:8) Ã¢â‚¬Å“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.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The shepherds and all those needy in the field, cold, harassed by uncertainties if their fields in life can look up to a great light; (Isa 9:2) Ã¢â‚¬Å“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shinedÃ¢â‚¬Â. Hear Jesus reiterating thus in (Matt 4:16) Ã¢â‚¬Å“The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The learned, the Wise men, professors, intellectuals, sought and found Jesus; Matt 2:1-3 Ã¢â‚¬Å“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Whatever your status or station in life, you need Jesus. What is expected of you? Do not be afraid!
Do not be angry or feel threatened at Jesus’ birth, like Herod! Receive the Good News, the Gospel. The Innkeeper rejected baby Jesus. And King Herod persecuted and threatened Jesus. What will you do with Jesus today? Will you follow Jesus today? I pray you do. It’s simple. Believe that Jesus came in the flesh i.e. in human form, died and rose from the dead.
1Jn 4:2-4: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of anti-Christ, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He paid the price for your sins and He is offering you forgiveness of all sins, new life, or the gift of the Holy Spirit. Just accept Jesus Christ today, in faith and you will have eternal life.
Merry Christmas to you all!