‘Tis the season when self professed Christians all over America fight about “Keeping Christ in Christmas” while setting up their Christmas trees, stringing up their lights, setting out the elf, and telling their kids fantasy stories about Santa Claus. I’m in love with Christmas just like anyone else, but possibly simply because of the trees, the lights, the fatty foods, and the egg nog. I set up my Christmas tree, I set out the elf, and I even told my kids about St. Nicholas, but none of this really has to do with Christ! There is nothing wrong with these things as long as you aren’t out there beating people up over keeping “Christ” in Christmas. I don’t get this strong compulsion to beat everyone over the head when they don’t say, “CHRISTmas.” What are YOU doing to keep Christ in CHRISTMAS other than maybe singing a few songs about baby Jesus? Or just for appearances sake saying something like, “Oh, but remember the reason for the season,” as you run on out to get lost in the hustle and bustle. If Christ really WERE the reason for the season then wouldn’t it be evident in the lives of believers? Wouldn’t they act a little differently during the season, or every other month of the year for that matter? Shouldn’t the tree, the santa, the tinsel, and stockings be secondary? The problem with beating others up about keeping Christ in Christmas is that Christ isn’t the real reason for most Christians Christmas either. They say it tongue and cheek. It’s like going out and telling your kid not to cuss while you cuss at them on a daily basis. Most Christians don’t even know that “Christ” isn’t the last name of Jesus. Some don’t even realize that we ARE NOT celebrating the ACTUAL birthday of Jesus on December 25th, and many others don’t have an answer as to the birth story of our Lord and Savior. This being said I don’t really understand how we get all “holier than thou” about a simple phrase people use at a shopping mall? So what if they say “Happy Holidays?” Why do we put up such a ruckus over a holiday God doesn’t even tell us to celebrate (because frankly his death and resurrection were the bigger deal in terms of the gospel), while we let the true Gospel go? Do you have enough knowledge of the Word of God to even communicate the Gospel or answer a question about the life of Jesus?
This season I propose that you have an answer for the hope that lies within you (again using 1 Peter 3:15 here). That you actually DO make Christ the “Reason for the Season” and get to know Him. Getting to know Him will help your faith grow, and as that happens people will be more interested in the hope that lies within you because of the birth of our Lord and Savior. But not so much because of His birth, but because of His life, His death, and His resurrection. Christmas shouldn’t be a time that we get lost in worldly endeavors, but a time when we have a deep urge to get to know the man who changed human history for the better. So why not start with His birth? What will you say when someone asks you about the virgin birth? You must realize that MANY people debate the truth/validity of the virgin birth. I stand firm in the virgin birth (yes supernatural but hey, so is much of the Bible). Anyway, here are a few points to consider:
*The virgin birth was prophesied in Isaiah 7:14, “14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin (Almah in Hebrew) shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel”
*The virgin birth isn’t only in Isaiah, it is also in Matthew and Luke. Matthew 1:23, “23 “Behold, the virgin (Parthenos in Greek) shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” and in Luke 1:26-36 it was foretold with key verses to “virgin” being 27 and 34.
*Let’s discuss the issue of the word “virgin.” There is an argument about the actual word meaning young maiden and not “virgin” and I’ll get into that in a minute, but let’s just trash the word all together. Forget the word. How then do you explain Matthew 1:25, “but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.” Not only this verse, but Mary’s line of questioning to the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:34, “34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” Well folks, I want to see you argue your way out of a whole phrase of words here. Please… comment.
*Back to the word, Almah is the word used 7 times to refer to a young woman/maiden. In all seven accounts the girl is an unmarried woman. There isn’t a reference that implies a young woman/maiden to be anything but a virgin (when the word “Almah” was used). This was the Hebrew. The greek word used in the New Testament is Parthenos. It is used 14 times and all point to the meaning of virgin.
* The virgin birth was to be a sign. How would it have been a sign for all if Jesus was conceived of a young woman and a young man? I mean that happens every day. So why would that be supernatural, worth noting, or a sign? Why would Joseph be ready to put Mary away? The kid wasn’t his and had an angel not appeared to him I believe he would have left her to fend for herself. But this still proves the kid wasn’t his! So you would not only have to believe Mary wasn’t a virgin, you would have to believe she got pregnant by some random dude who wasn’t Joseph and then Matthew decided to use the genealogy of Joseph (as the legal father) as a cover up. Also, if she got pregnant by some random dude then how was Jesus in the line of David (thus fulfilling other OT prophecies of the Messiah)?
* As far as the genealogy is concerned Matthew’s account was of Josephs lineage while Luke’s was Mary’s—most likely. Jesus was legally adopted by Joseph making his legal lineage one of the Davidic line, but also naturally through Mary via Mary (daughter of Bathsheba and Nathan). This web site gives some reason: http://carm.org/bible-difficulties/matthew-mark/why-are-there-different-genealogies-jesus-matthew-1-and-luke-3
* Look up Jechonias in the lineage listed by Matthews account (Josephs genealogy). His line was accursed according to Jeremiah 22:30. None of his 7 sons sat on the throne. So a son of his (and thus of Joseph) couldn’t have been the true Messiah. BUT because Jesus was “begat” of the Holy Spirit through Mary he was not only a natural descendant of David, but of royal lineage (thus the ability to take the throne) because of his legal adoption by Joseph (lineage of David as well, and of regal line, but accursed). I got this little bit from the “Evidence for Christianity” by Josh McDowell.
So, why a virgin birth? Because sin entered the world through Adam. The curse of Adam (nature of sin/ sin nature) would have been on Jesus. But Jesus led a sinless life as we know: 1 Peter 1:19, 1 Peter 2:22, 1 John 3:5, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15, and by contrast (Jesus to the rest of us) look up Ephesians 2:3.
And why does it matter so much that Jesus lived a sinless life? I leave you with a difficult passage that explains so much, Romans 5:12-21, “12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”