Intro – With all the hustle and bustle going on right now as you start to getting ready for Christmas, I believe we need to be reminded why Christmas is a good idea. Without Christmas…
• The candied fruit market would completely collapse!
• Our boring, uneventful lives would have no stress at all!
• Eggnog would just be a slimy, high cholesterol beverage.
• Santa would be a strange fat man with very poor fashion sense!
• These 3 words would be — “No Christmas bonus!”
• You’d have to spend your own money buying stuff that doesn’t fit.
• We would never wonder if reindeer really know how to fly.
• Your cat would never know the joy of coughing up tinsel!
• And the number one reason—without Christmas, there could be no Easter!
Well Christmas was / is a good idea! One God the Father planned before the foundation of the world – God knew before He created the world that man would sin and become separated from Him and need a Savior – One who would come and redeem man – One who would come and pay the price for his sin, provide the needed forgiveness, and reconcile him to God and make him a new creation.
And what a glorious night it was when Jesus, the Son of God entered into this sin devastated world - was born through the virgin Mary and laid in a manger in swaddling clothes in Bethlehem!
God’s divine plan was finally entering the Advent Phase - The Messiah, the long awaited One – the long Promised One - had finally arrived.
Throughout the OT we find Messianic prophesies about the coming Messiah. And what we see from the beginning in these Messianic prophecies a progressive unfolding of the nature and person of the Messiah. What this means is that each prophecy casts more light on the subject. This occurs, for example, regarding the concept of the “seed”: Genesis 3:15 is the 1st Messianic prophecy:
Genesis 3:15 (NASB95)
And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
Later God says in Genesis 22:18 to Abraham:
“In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
The idea of the Messiah being crushed for sin is implicit in the Genesis pronouncement in Genesis 3:15 as is the violence associated with that act. But It was the prophet Isaiah who gives dramatically the graphic elaboration to this fact in Isaiah 53:5: 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
Deuteronomy 18:15 tells us:
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.
Then during the reign of King David God said to David through Nathan the prophet in 2 Samuel 7:8-16
“Now therefore, thus you shall say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people Israel. “I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth. “I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as formerly, even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. The Lord also declares to you that the Lord will make a house for you. “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” ’ ”
And thus for centuries the Jewish people looked for their Messianic King who would come. Gabriel’s words to Mary in Luke 1:31-33 confirmed this coming:
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
And the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel spoke of His coming:
· Isaiah 11:1-2:
Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
· Jeremiah 23:5-6:
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land. “In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The Lord our righteousness.’
· Ezekiel 34:23-24:
“Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd. “And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the Lord have spoken.
Isaiah further revealed:
· in Isaiah 7:14:
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.
· And in Isaiah 9:6-7:
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.
And the prophet Micah prophesied in Micah 5:2-5:
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” Therefore He will give them up until the time When she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel. And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the Lord, In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. And they will remain, Because at that time He will be great To the ends of the earth. This One will be our peace. When the Assyrian invades our land, When he tramples on our citadels, Then we will raise against him Seven shepherds and eight leaders of men.
And on that Glorious Night it happened…and the angels declared it. And the shepherds came and witnessed it!
And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.
Today we once again celebrate that Glorious Night!