For sure there are those who hold a certain disdain for Christmas, but, personally, I look very forward to the season every go-around. When I was a kid, I was excited about Christmas because of my expectations for certain gifts. And, yes, for a few years, I liked to believe in Santa Claus and that he was coming to my town. It was fun in its own right.
But, in due course, with the proper teaching, and with spiritual growth in the Lord, and with Bible reading, the excitement I still possess for Christmas has reached proper understanding about what it means.
The Christmas season is exciting primarily for the reason we celebrate it. We celebrate it for the beginning and living of Jesus Christ. God told an exciting story in the Bible about the Birth of His Son. As the coming Messiah, God indicated that His Son would be born in Bethlehem, which became and has remained a touching factoid.
The characterization of the coming Messiah in the Old Testament is inspirational, such as “the Branch.” This reference speaks to that which has sprung up itself, comes forth, and is distinct within its own self. The history of man is like a tree that has been cut to a stump. Man’s strength, fruitfulness, and beauty was cut down by sin to a stump. But, “the Branch” springs from man’s stump, and revives the possibilities of eternal hope for man.
Further expected characteristics stirred eventual excitement in the forlorn spheres of life at large. As “the Branch of the Lord,” He was to be glorious and fully divine. As “the Branch out of Jesse and David,” He would be the Messiah rising out of Israel, who will ultimately reign as King over the whole earth. As “the Man who is the Branch,” He would be the perfect man who will someday exercise dominion like it originally had been set up for Adam by God.
Back in the day, God expertly wrapped the beginning and living of Jesus Christ with definitive explanations. But, for us, the New Testament telling of the Lord’s birth still spins a tale of inspirational events to consider during these times of our celebrations.
The Virgin Birth is important to factor. Our Lord was miraculously conceived through the work of the Holy Spirit in a young woman named Mary. This had to be done to fulfill the expectations of history. This had to be done to provide divine Jesus Christ with His humanity. This had to be done to preserve Jesus Christ of His divinity. What does this mean for us? The Virgin Birth, because of the perceptiveness of God, the issue of moral necessity, and the needs of man, was critical in God being able to provide a perfect salvation. Exciting, huh? It, oh, most certainly is, when you consider what it means personally.
For children, the account of the angel’s appearance may produce the most joy about the Christmas story. Can you not imagine the trepidation stirred in those shepherds when the sky suddenly became filled with angels praising God for the Savior’s birth? Over the years of the Lord’s ministry through me, certain kids have indicated that this is their favorite part of the Christmas account.
On the other hand, the wise men being guided by that strange star to Bethlehem to present their gifts to the one whom they recognized as the King has long piqued my foremost attention. They sat on the hump for a long way. They had to endure intrigue of subtle planning from an evil man. They eventually listened to the leadership of God to escape that evil man’s wrath.
So, it’s Christmas! Undoubtedly, Christmas came to me when in 1959 I got saved, all because of what the Lord did to get to the Cross, and there die for me so that I could receive forgiveness for my sins — as well as for you.
Very early Christmas morning, I plan on doing what I have done for several years. I am going to call each our sons, and after they answer their phones, I am going to yell as loud as I can with the most enthusiasm I can muster—-IT’S CHRISTMAS!
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.