It's the time of the year again when we think about Christmas shopping, Christmas cards, Christmas trees, snow and Santa Claus.
All of those things are associated with Christmas, but Christmas is really all about Jesus!
The old cliché "Jesus is the reason for the season" is true!
The birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the most wonderful, miraculous and truthful event that has ever taken place in all of history. The story of Jesus' birth is perfect in the sense that it doesn't need to be embellished or improved upon.
It is as exciting today as it was the first time we heard it, even though we have heard it many times and we know how the story ends.
The story is undeniably clear and simple, because God wanted us to understand how "the Word, Jesus Christ, became flesh and dwelt among us."
God, in the Garden of Eden, prophesied the story of the birth of Jesus. God told the serpent, Satan, "I will put enmity (deep rooted hatred) between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He ... Jesus Christ ... shall crush your head, And you shall strike His heel." (Gen. 3:15) This verse contains the first implicit promise of God's plan of redemption for the world. Jesus would be "struck" through his crucifixion, yet he would rise from the dead to destroy Satan, sin and death for the salvation of man.
Every book in the Old Testament anticipates the coming of Jesus Christ.
There are more than 350 prophesies in the Old Testament concerning Jesus, the savior of humanity, that would be born to Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem.
The Prophet Isaiah spoke some 700 years before the birth of Jesus and said, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end." (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Isaiah also saw Jesus as the suffering servant and said, "On Him would be laid the iniquity (sin) of us all. He would be crushed for our iniquities; and the punishment that brought us peace was upon him." (Isa 53:5) Then Isaiah said, "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." (Isa 7:14)
The Prophet Micah spoke 500 years before the birth of Jesus and prophesied that he would be born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem means "House of Bread," and the "Bread of Life," Jesus Christ, would be born in the "House of Bread."
The Bible says, "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." (Gal. 4:4-5. NKJV).
That is where we will pick up on the story next week!
• Matters of Faith is written each week by a member of the Du Quoin Ministerial Alliance.