I had been working as the Church Secretary at The First Presbyterian Church of Hoquiam, where I was also a member and involved in the choir, for a couple of years, when I was asked to write an article for the local newspaper, to be published on Christmas Eve, in the “Faces of Faith” section of the Church Pages.
Thank you, Doug Barker (Editor) and Karen Barkstrom, for locating the article and sending me a copy, after I inquired about it by e-mail on October 27, 2018.
(Scriptures Quoted from the King James or New King James Bible)
It’s Christmas Eve! Children will lie wakeful tonight, wondering what’s in the packages under the tree. Grownups, though they’ve sworn it won’t happen this year, are racing against the clock to get that last gift wrapped. Some folks have no homes…no expectations of a celebration…no bright, shining tree…no gifts…no Christmas dinner…
No matter their situations, though, many Christians around the world will go to church to worship their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Candles will be lit, one by one–the light passing from person to person–symbolizing the coming of the Light of the World to deliver us from evil.
Some may wonder, “Why? Why did God send a baby to save us? What significance could a tiny baby have, to a world wracked with sin and torment? Why is there still fear and death, if the baby was truly the Savior–the Messiah?”
I don’t know all the answers. The Bible says that until Jesus returns, we’ll have only partial knowledge. Each year, though, I gain a better understanding of “why,” and the more I learn, the more I rejoice.
You’ve probably heard the story of Jesus’ virgin birth, about the angel Gabriel and his messages to Mary and Joseph, and about the taxation law that caused the long journey so late in Mary’s pregnancy.
Jesus’ birth in a stable with a manger for His bed is no secret, right? Do you really know, however, the continuing power of the birth of that baby? To understand “why,” we must go back to the beginning.
John 1:1-5 tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Throughout Genesis 1, we are given the sequence of events, as God created the earth, the universe, and every animal species, from the substance that previously was only inside Him. With His faith, He sent forth His Spirit to do the work, by the power of His Word–the same Word John spoke of, that “shines in the darkness.”
Then God created another thing: “…Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion…”
When Adam (meaning “out of God’s blood”) had practiced his creative powers by naming God’s other creations, God gave him a mate–one of his own kind–to help him populate, tend, and dominate the earth. To keep the bloodline pure, God took one of Adam’s “tselas” (one of his cells), and created his “other half,” whom Adam named Eve.
Genesis also tells us that God ceded the kingship of His Earth to mankind–male and female: “…and God blessed them, and God said unto them, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing…'”
They were made in the image of the triune God, but God had built into them free will. Though they were made in God’s image, they weren’t God. He knew they would fail to follow His commands perfectly.
So, before sin ever entered their lives through rebellion, God made a plan. After Adam and Eve listened to the deceiver and did what God had said not to, He put the plan into action: “…And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel…”
Banished from the perfect Eden because of their fall, the couple were still the rulers of their world. However, their disobedience had allowed Satan to use the power of their crowns.
God could no longer just move on the earth by His Spirit to get the earth back from them, because He had given that rulership to man. Only Adam, Eve, and their descendants had the power to rule in the earth.
God’s plan, then, had to involve someone born legally into the family of man, yet someone who would not fail to follow the precepts of God.
Through the centuries, Adam and Eve’s descendants told of a coming Messiah who would deliver them from bondage. Meanwhile, God gave them the Law, with blood sacrifices, to cover their sin temporarily.
God maintained as much communication with His people as they would let Him. By the time Mary and Joseph were to be married, though, the Jewish people had a concept of the Messiah that had lost much of its power.
Most Jews believed–many still do–that the Messiah would be another man whom God would raise up to be either militarily or politically strong. They thought he would deliver them, as God’s chosen people, only from the bondage of their enemies.
Mary and Joseph knew enough, though, that they accepted what the angel Gabriel told them, therefore fulfilling God’s promises and allowing the “last Adam” to be born legally, as a child of mankind, on Earth. I Corinthians tells us that the “first Adam” was LIKE God, but that the “last Adam” IS God!
By their obedience to God, Mary and Joseph allowed God to purify the bloodline of Adam’s descendants.
He had breathed His own life’s blood into the first Adam, but sin had introduced a flaw (called death) into that blood. With the conception of Jesus, a transfusion was made available, straight from Almighty God, and the new legal heir apparent–the King of Kings–was born.
Because God carried out His plan legally, we can count on its power to last forever. Jesus didn’t sneak in through the back door. He crawled in through the front door, as a human baby, carrying inside of Himself the full creativity of the Godhead. Yet He submitted Himself to the limitations of humanity.
When He was grown, He would proceed with the rest of the plan, making the blood transfusion available for all–but we’ll leave that for the Easter season.
This Christmas Eve, it’s enough to remember that God restored our link with His original creation in a way that the devil can never defeat. That is the ultimate triumph, and it’s what John meant, when he said in John 3:16-18, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Galatians 4:3-7 explains how the birth of Jesus–the only begotten Son–returns our earthly dominion to us: “We, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
If you didn’t know about this Savior, or if you’ve never accepted His Lordship, you can do it now, right there wherever you are, by just telling Father God that you believe in what Jesus did for mankind. Then you can worship the Lord, your God, along with the rest of the believers–the Body of Christ–this Christmas Eve, and forever. There’s much more to the story of Jesus (and our lives “in Him”) but this is a great beginning, without which there would be no “rest of the story!”
(Copyright 12/24/1994 thru 2018–Linda A. Wingfield)