Christmas: that time of year where we celebrate the Little Baby, born in a manger.
In some ways, Christ was just like any other baby ever born, for He went through the physical birth process every baby must go through. He had the same physical needs every baby has: He needed clothing, food, shelter, and care. And unlike some folk-tradition, He did cry and need a mother’s arms to comfort Him, just like every other baby who needs a mother’s arms to hold and comfort them.
But in other ways—very significant ways—Christ was unlike any other baby ever born.
Indeed, He was God made into the form of a man.
He laid aside His divine glory so that He might clothe Himself with the garments of human flesh and human limitations, yet He never sinned.
And with His birth, Christ set in motion the unfolding of God’s redemptive plan, designed since before the foundation of the world.
What exactly was this plan?
Way back in the Garden of Eden, God declared to Satan and promised to Adam and Eve that He would “put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
God promised that one day, One would come who would conquer Satan, the tempter, the arch-enemy of God. This One would deliver mankind from sin’s penalty that has hung as a death-sentence over us since that critical day in the Garden.
God’s promise of a coming Deliverer was the seed of hope planted in the hearts of the first two people on planet earth. This was the seed of hope given in the midst of hopelessness.
As time went on, God unfolded more details of His divine plan to crush Satan and conquer sin.
We learn a description of who this Promised One would be:
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Then we learn of this One’s name:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:7)
Just one verse later, we learn of part of the greater purpose for the Promised One: He will establish an everlasting kingdom, unlike any this world has ever known.
“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,
upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom,
to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
And then, as the prophets of old spoke according to the Word of the Lord, we learn where this Promised One would come from:
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah,
yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel;
whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2)
Generations passed and still no Deliverer had come.
Undoubtedly, many gave up on God ever making good on His promise to send One who would set all things right.
But then that quiet night, as the humble shepherds watched their flocks under the dark night’s sky, the glorious, magnificent, long-awaited news came!
An angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds and joyously proclaimed to them:
“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day
in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
The Savior, Christ the Lord, had come!
This is the One who was promised on that fateful day when man rebelled against God and sin entered the world.
This is the One who would redeem mankind from the curse of sin.
This is the One who would crush the Serpent’s head.
This is the One who would establish His kingdom forevermore.
This is the One who had come!
God’s promise of redemption and deliverance was no longer just a promise: It was beginning to unfold, even as the shepherds stood there in wonder at the angel’s announcement and joyous refrain of praise to God!
Christ’s birth declared to all those who believed that God was fulfilling His promise: He had sent the Deliverer.
However, while we rejoice in the coming of this baby, we still await the complete fulfillment of God’s promises concerning this Deliverer, for we continue to await the day when Christ will set up His eternal Kingdom and rule with divine justice and judgment.
This Christmas season, as we exult in the birth of Jesus Christ, let us rejoice not only in the celebration of the beginning of God’s unfolding plan, but also in the glad confidence that He is going to fulfill the rest of His promise by one day setting up His Kingdom to reign forevermore!