It’s that most wonderful time of the year again! Throughout December it is likely you will see or hear the phrase, “The Reason for the Season.” There is only one true reason, of course, and His name is Jesus Christ. And that reason does not spring from an uninformed, blind leap of faith. To those who sneer that believing in the Babe in the manger is like believing in Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, you can calmly and kindly reply that the birth of Christ is an historical event that is beyond contestation, which took place just over 2000 years ago when God sent His Son into this world on that first Christmas morning. Let’s take a look.
We go all the way back to the beginning of recorded history to find the first promise of Christmas, which came immediately after Adam and Eve’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden. God gave our first parents a paradise to live in with only one prohibition: “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:17). Tragically, Adam and Eve succumbed to the suggestion of the serpent; they focused on the one thing they were not to have instead of an entire Garden that had been graciously given them to enjoy. They took the forbidden fruit and ate, and the entire created order crumbled into decay and death.
But right there, in that awful moment, as Adam and Eve crouched in terror before the Lord God Omnipotent, He gave the first Gospel presentation: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15).
This promised Person would be like no other ever born. He would be supernaturally conceived in the womb of a virgin: “The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
This promised Person would be God in human flesh, and He would be preceded by a great prophet, who would herald the coming of this King of kings and the Lord of lords, challenging all those who heard him to repent.
A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3 ESV).
Nearly 700 years before the supernatural events of that first Christmas morning, the prophet Micah foretold where this promised King would be born:
“You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2).
Sadly, even in the church today, much of the purpose of Christmas has been lost, buried under a mountain of packages and parties. Now, please don’t misunderstand; celebrating Christmas with gifts and gatherings is perfectly fine, as long as the purpose for that first Christmas has not been lost.
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (1 John 3:8)
Satan’s wicked works against humanity began all the way back in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden, cut off from God and confined to living East of Eden. But in God’s first Gospel promise, we are given the confident assurance that Seed of the woman will crush the head of the serpent and the terrible curse of sin will be reversed.
And that is exactly what has happened. What began on that first Christmas morning, as a multitude of the heavenly host sang “Glory to God,” continued throughout the sinless life, sacrificial death, and supernatural resurrection of Jesus Christ. The devil and his angels will one day be consigned to the lake of fire, but all those who have placed their trust in the atoning work of the Babe of Bethlehem will live with Him forever.
The most powerful apologetic (defense) for the truth of the Bible is the hundreds of Old Testament prophecies that have been literally fulfilled. When it comes to the birth of the Christ child, we can point skeptics to 333 specific prophecies in Scripture, such as the ones we have seen here from Isaiah and Micah, that foretold the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Several Christian writers have highlighted the supernatural superintendence of these prophecies: The possibility of only eight of these predictions being literally fulfilled is 1 in 10 to the 17th power.
Here are the odds of that happening. Take one silver dollar and mark it with an X. Cover the entire state of Texas two feet deep in silver dollars — including the one marked with an X — and then blindfold a person and send him across the state to locate and pick up the silver dollar marked with the X on his first try. The probability of that happening is 1 in 10 to the 17th power . . . that’s 10 with 17 zeros!
Christians need never feel nervous or defensive as they proclaim the truth that God put on human flesh and was born into our world so that a multitude that no one can number will be saved through faith in His promise. We have the Greatest Story Ever Told, and that story proves itself to be true beyond the shadow of a doubt by the way it foretold that God’s promise would come to pass several hundred years before that blessed event actually occurred.
What would Christmas be without the Present? The greatest gift the world has ever been given is available to all those who will trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
I pray a very merry, Christ-centered, hope-filled Christmas season for you and yours. Perhaps you will give the gift of hope to someone who does not yet know the real reason for this Christmas season. You will not be sharing a cleverly invented story, like one created by Dickens or Dr. Seuss; you will be declaring the irrefutable truth of the Good News of the birth of Christ.
Tommy Boland is senior pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach. He blogs regularly at tommyboland.com.