The Hope of Christmas

From Ken Ham @ Answers In Genesis

While the world tries to remove Christ from Christmas by taking down nativities and distracting people with shopping and pictures with Santa, Christians must share the true hope of the season, which is Christ coming to earth to save us from our sins. Christians should be the most hopeful people in the world. Our hope is not vain wishing but confident expectation in God and His Word. We can be encouraged because God is faithful to keep His promises. God’s first promise to send a Savior, someone who would defeat Satan, was given in Genesis. After Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the garden of Eden brought sin and death into the world, mankind, along with the rest of creation, was cursed. Our sin separated us from God. But in Genesis 3:15, God said that the offspring (descendant) of Eve would “bruise the head” of Satan, referring to Christ’s death on the cross delivering the final blow to Satan.

God chose Abraham, a man of faith, to be the father of a great nation and to have a special descendant who would bless all families of the earth (Genesis 12:1–3). His promise passed from Abraham to his son Isaac, from Isaac to Jacob, and from Jacob to his son, Judah (Genesis 49:10). Hundreds of years later, a man from the tribe of Judah was chosen to be king of Israel. That man was David! God’s special covenant with David included a descendant who would establish an eternal kingdom (2 Samuel 7:12–13). Both Abraham and David died without seeing the fulfillment of the promises God made, but they had faith and hope that God would keep His word.

God also told prophets about the coming Savior. The prophets received and recorded His message, which included predictions about who the Messiah would be and where he would be born. God said that the Messiah would be a righteous and humble king, bringing salvation (Zechariah 9:9). He would be born of a virgin and called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). The child would inherit the throne of His father David (Isaiah 9:7). He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), live in Egypt (Hosea 11:1), and enter the temple in Jerusalem (Malachi 3:1). After Malachi’s prophecy, the Israelites waited expectantly for 400 years without another message from God.

Then in the town of Nazareth in Galilee, an angel appeared to a young woman, Mary. His message from God was incredible! Mary was chosen to bear the Son of God! When Mary asked how this could happen since she was a virgin, the angel told her that her son would be conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit. Mary responded with humble obedience (Luke 1:26–38). God chose Mary and Joseph to be the earthly parents of the Savior, Jesus. They were both descended from Abraham and David (Matthew 1:1–17; Luke 3:23–38), making Jesus the promised descendant who would bless all nations and establish an eternal kingdom. Jesus fulfilled God’s promises and also the prophecies about His life: being born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:1–7), being brought into the temple in Jerusalem where He was recognized by Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:22–38), and living for a time in Egypt to be safe from King Herod (Matthew 2:13–15). These events are powerful evidence that Jesus is the Messiah. No baby could control the events surrounding his birth, only God could. Jesus demonstrates God’s great love to us (Romans 5:8). By dying on the cross and rising from the dead, Jesus provided salvation. Because of Him, we have the hope of forgiveness and eternal life with God. This is the message of Christmas that we must remember and share with others—not just at Christmas but throughout the year!

The virgin birth of Jesus is a topic of some controversy, not only from unsaved skeptics but also within the church. Even some Christians are downplaying the importance of how Jesus came into the world. However, the virgin birth is essential to Christianity. Ignoring or refusing to believe what the Bible says about Jesus’ birth undermines the very gospel! If we can’t trust God’s Word regarding the birth of Christ, how can we trust it regarding the resurrection or Christ’s return or anything else? The birth of Jesus is described in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, but not Mark and John. This doesn’t mean the two accounts we have are false; it indicates that John and Mark had different starting points and purposes for their accounts. Other teachings and accounts in Scripture are given only once, and we consider those the inspired Word of God.

The virgin birth of Jesus is essential for Him to be our Savior. Jesus was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). He had a human mother but not a human father. His unique conception made Him fully God and fully man. As God, Jesus was sinless, and as a man, He could take our place. If He had both a human mother and father, He could not be the perfect and acceptable sacrifice for our sin when He died on the cross. His death would not have accomplished anything or defeated Satan, which God promised would happen in Genesis 3:15. The virgin birth also fulfilled the prophecy given in Isaiah 7:14 that Immanuel would be born of a virgin as a sign. The prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ birth are essential to understanding God’s sovereignty, faithfulness, and omnipotence. To defend the virgin birth, we don’t need a scientific explanation; we simply need to trust in the character of God. As the all-powerful Creator, God has complete control over the laws He put in place, including human reproduction.

Those who reject the virgin birth and redefine Jesus as just a man have no hope of salvation. Only the blood of the perfect Christ can cleanse us of sin (Hebrews 9:11–14). The promise of eternal life is offered to all who will believe in Jesus as the resurrected Son of God (John 10:24–29). This is the true hope of Christmas, and it begins with the miraculous birth of Immanuel, God with us!

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