Dear members and friends of Valley Park,
Remembering the significance of Jesus Christ’s birth is one of the most God-honoring things a Christian can do every year. It does require thoughtfulness about how God’s plans to save the world from the consequences of sin and death were fulfilled in the child born of Mary. But if we invest some time in remembering the redemptive story revealed from Genesis to Revelation through a child born as King and Redeemer, then Christmas can be one of the more God-honoring things we do in a year.
The truth is that God wants us to invest time in remembering the many things He has done to love and help us. For instance, King David understood this and assigned Asaph and his relatives to give thanks to Yahweh for the many works of God on their behalf.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, (vs. 8)… Make known His deeds among the peoples…1 Chronicles 16:7-36
Speak of all His wonders (vs. 9)… Remember His wonderful deeds which He has done, (vs.12)… Remember His covenant forever, (vs.15)… The covenant which He made with Abraham (vs. 16) Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day (vs.23)… Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. (vs. 24)… Then all the people said, “Amen,” and praised the Lord. (vs. 36).
“Remembering,” “making known,” and “speaking of” the many things God has done is a healthy way to honor God and it was accompanied by expressions of gratitude. Nehemiah criticized the people of Israel for a period in history in which they refused to listen to God and did not remember his many efforts on their behalf.
“They refused to listen, And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them;“Nehemiah 9:17
Christmas is a time of the year set aside for remembering the significance of the birth of Jesus Christ and offering renewed expressions of gratitude to God for His devotion to loving and helping us. The birth of Jesus was the most anticipated event in the history of man according to the Old Testament prophets. They anticipated a child, born of a woman, who would be King and Redeemer of creation. Through this child they anticipated the restoration of creation to what God intended; a world where there would be no sin or death destroying life. Consider the following prophecies as you consider things to remember during this Christmas season.
“A virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel (which means “God with Us”).“Isaiah 7:14
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,…”Isaiah 9:6-7
“Then a shoot (a child) will spring from the stem of Jesse (King David’s Father), and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding,… The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea. Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse”Isaiah 11: 1-10
“For He grew up (a child born and growing) before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, … He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; …He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed… But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.”Isaiah 52:13-53:12
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,… From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity. Therefore, He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren Will return to the sons of Israel.”Micah 5:2-3
There can be no doubt that each of these prophecies share the hope in a child to be born at some point in the future who would be a descendant of King David, God among us, endowed with authority to judge evil and establish the Kingdom of God on earth, and destined to bear the sins of the world. How can we not remember the birth of Jesus as the single most important birth of a man in the history of mankind as anticipated by Jewish ancestry and their prophets.
It does not really matter that we do not know the day that Jesus was born. Christmas is not about a birthday or about the many traditions of man. It is about remembering what God promised and fulfilled in the person of Jesus who was born for the sole purpose of serving us and our greatest needs. Let us enter this Christmas season “remembering” the real reason for the season. To God be the Glory.