It may surprise you to know that Christmas did not begin with the birth of Christ. It began long before time in the eternal purposes of God, and hundreds of years B.C. (“before Christ”) with prophetic signs of the coming Savior.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. … 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
—John 1:1-2; Col. 1:19-20
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
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 of old, from ancient times.
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
These verses are the capstones of the eternal celebration of this glorious world-wide event.
Among those who came to see the promised Savior were Magi, wise men from the east. They believed the Scriptures and had traveled many hundreds of miles to worship this Child, having been guided to Bethlehem by the prophet’s oracle. “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him” (Matt. 2:11a).
They brought unusual gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Myrrh, which was used to embalm a corpse, foreshadowed Jesus’ death. Jesus himself would be embalmed with this very perfume (cf. John 19:39-40).
In giving myrrh, the Magi prefigured the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy that “Messiah will be cut off” (Dan. 9:26). Yet Daniel also prophesied that His death “will make atonement for iniquity” and ultimately “bring in everlasting righteousness” (Dan. 9:24). At our Savior’s birth His present and future had already been appointed…from miraculous birth to atoning death to glorious resurrection!
Jesus’ encounter with the Magi was indicative of God’s plan to save people from every stratum of society. Shepherds, for example, were at the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder, yet they were the first to hear the announcement of the Messiah’s birth (cf. Luke 2:8-20).
This concern for all types of people characterized Jesus’ earthly ministry. Tax collectors were traitors and second-class citizens in the eyes of God-fearing Jews, yet Jesus called one of them to be among His twelve disciples. These and many others—rough-hewn fishermen, pious religious leaders, hardened military commanders—encountered God in the person of Jesus, and worshiped Him.
IMMANUEL: He who identified with all levels of humanity became God with and for us. The Incarnation is not just an event that occurred in the past. Everyone united to Christ through faith has experienced His incarnation!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
—1 Pet. 1:3
We have personally experienced the Incarnate Christ!
Soli Deo Gloria,
Reuben & Carmen Sequeira