People talk about the commercialization of Christmas, They protest the secularization of “the holidays.” It is not difficult to see problems associated with the season: materialism, overindulgence and busyness. So let’s pause for a moment and think about what is right about Christmas. Christ is born! (Some of these points are not original with me, but they bear repeating.) This is very good news.
Christ was born at the right time — chronologically. “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship” (Galatians 4:4-5).
At the time of his birth, the Greek language was the universal trade language of the empire. The Romans had built thousands of miles of roads making trade and travel more efficient for everyone. The Jews were everywhere and had built synagogues for the preservation and teaching of the Hebrew scriptures. There was relative peace throughout the world, enforced by the iron rule of the Roman government. It was at this opportune time in history that Jesus was born and would die and rise again. The news of his gospel spread rapidly.
Christ was born to the right family — genealogically. When Jesus was born it was as a direct descendant of King David, as scripture had promised. Jesus’ family history (genealogy) was recorded in the gospel of Matthew to establish his legal right to the throne of David as King of the Jews. This genealogy traces his ancestry through Joseph, his adoptive father on earth.
The genealogy in Luke’s gospel most likely traces our Lord’s human family history through his physical mother, the virgin Mary. She was also a descendant of King David through her father Heli (Eli, Joseph’s father-in-law). Mary is not named because it was not the usual practice to name the mothers in a genealogy. Luke emphasized Jesus’ physical or natural right to the throne of David.
Because he is the son of David, the Lord Jesus will inherit a kingdom that will endure forever (2 Samuel 7: 8, 16). When the angel told Mary that she would be the mother of Messiah, he told her, “The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David … his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:32-33). He was born to the right family.
Christ was born in the right place — geographically. What difference does it make where he was born? He was not born in Jerusalem or Athens or Rome because the scriptures had foretold he would be born in “David’s town,” Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 is a prophecy that the people of Israel took very seriously: “But 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 old, from ancient times.”
Ancient prophecies said that the Messiah (God’s anointed king) would arise out of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10). The insignificant village of Bethlehem, because it was the birthplace of David, was to be the birthplace of David’s greater Son who was to come to rule. This was written to be an unmistakable sign to the great men of the earth (Matthew 2:3-6).
Christ was born in the right manner — biologically. There are those who teach that the miraculous conception of Jesus in the womb of a virgin maiden is a made -up story. But this is not like the fanciful legends surrounding Santa Claus. When the angel made his announcement about the Christ child to Joseph, it was understood to be a fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means God with us)” (Matthew 1:22).
This means that “God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:19) and “He (Jesus) is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20) and “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory” (Hebrews 1:3) and “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14).
Our Lord’s miraculous conception and birth means that the virgin Mary was enveloped by the Holy Spirit and her holy child was God in human flesh. He became human so that he could die for sinners as a human. He rose again from the dead to break the power of sin and death and open the way to eternal life for all who believe in him.
Christ was born for the right reason — theologically. The angel said to Joseph, “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). God never does anything without purpose. His purpose in sending his Son into the world was “to save the world through him” (John 3:17). In another place John wrote, “The Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14).
The world’s powerful people use extravagant language to lavish honors upon their own: emperor, king, benefactor, potentate, premier. But no powerful person in history has ever dared to call himself Savior except the One who had the right to appropriate these words for himself: “I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:11). Only Jesus has the right to that title and every book in the New Testament bears that out.
Speaking of himself Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). He came at the right time, to the right place in the right manner and for the right reason, that we might believe in him and receive the gift of salvation. “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).
Pastor Randy Faulkner