December has arrived! The last month of the year 2021 is upon us and this year has been all kinds of emotions expressed. I won’t lie, this year has been an absolute blessing, but it didn’t really start out that way. If you haven’t read my post when I opened up about my mental health issues and what I experienced at the beginning of this year, check it out over here.
Praise be to God, though, because I was able to experience many miracles and blessings from God this year that I could have never imagined happening to me.
But, there’s still a whole month pertaining to 2021 and I’m going to make the most of it before it’s over.
So, with Christmas around the corner, most of us think about snow, vacation, gifts, food (the best part for most of us).
But, most importantly, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh that came on earth as a baby and lived a sinless life we could never even come close to living, and then died a cruel death on the cross and rose again after three days to grant us eternal life in Him when we choose Him to be Lord and Savior in our lives. The Creator of this world and us came, very personally, to live among us in different stages of life: from an infant to a grown adult.
But how did we know that this was something that was truly done and fulfilled by Jesus? Let’s look into a little Bible history:
Isaiah was a prophet that lived over 700 years before Christ came to earth, a man that rebuked Israel in many things for being a rebellious people against God. In chapter 7 of the book of Isaiah we get a mention of the birth of Jesus, the Messiah:
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14
And though there is no direct mention of Jesus (the name Jesus was not mentioned) being that son, we can prove this by reading the first chapter of Matthew when Joseph receives a visit from an angel in his dreams:
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
– Matthew 1:18-25
Immanuel – God with us.
So, just imagine the position Joseph was in. You have your fiancée whom you will be married to eventually fall pregnant, when she’s a virgin, by what she claims to be the Holy Spirit of God and that she found out, because of an angel (that we know to be the angel Gabriel) who told her. Sound crazy, right? I don’t really know how someone would feel or react at that moment.
God had it all planned out and he sent an angel to speak to Joseph in his sleep to confirm that all of this was real and it was true as can be. And so, Mary and Joseph went on with God’s plan and they were given baby Jesus, a baby that would be born in a manger in Bethlehem, just as the prophet Micah would prophesy in chapter 5:
2But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
– Micah 5:2
It is so amazing just looking back at Old Testament passages that very clearly confirm that the Messiah was to come and He was to come in a certain way and a certain place and would die a certain death.
We also know that Jesus is given specific characteristics that would define who He truly is to us. In Isaiah chapter 9, we can read about four characteristics that reflect the deity of Christ as He should be presented:
6For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
– Isaiah 9:6
According to some commentary, we can define these characteristics as follows:
- Wonderful Counselor – a “counselor” is the one who is able to make wise plans (see Isaiah 11:2). He is the ruler of whose wisdom is beyond human capabilities.
- Mighty God – a title for the Lord.
- Everlasting Father – a kind protector, which is the task of the ideal king and is also the way God himself cares for his people.
- Prince of Peace – He will bring peace (shalom) as the nations rely on His just decisions in their disputes.
And this is who Jesus is, and there is no denying that when we see everything He has done throughout His ministry up until the day He ascended to heaven to be at the Right Hand of the Father. And this is what we remember as we celebrate Christmas, that a child, a gift of divine grace to us sinner, has been given and He will be called Immanuel, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!
God planned for Jesus to be the Savior since the beginning of time and He intended for Him to be born from a virgin (a miracle in itself) to live as fully man and fully God, or as some great preacher once said: “Jesus is truly man and truly God”.
This is a Biblical truth we can take away from this; The prophets of the Old Testament wrote that God was going to send the Savior, hundreds of years prior to the coming of the Messiah (which is the Christ) with a specific purpose for us.
If you are curious to read and study more about this, here are a few (of many verses) you can read through and compare with when reading:
- Psalms 2:7-9; 103:13
- Luke 1:32
- Isaiah 2:4; 9:7; 10:20-21; 11:2,6-9; 22:21; 42:4; 49:7; 52:15; 63:16; 64:8
- Deuteronomy 10:17
- Nehemiah 9:32
- Jeremiah 32:18
Let this season be a reminder for the real reason it should be celebrated: Jesus.