Christmas Origin - The Messiah's Birth Foretold
The Christmas origin begins with the predictions of Christ over the many centuries before His birth. The sceptre (a Hebrew symbol of governmental authority) shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh (Hebrew, the "Messiah") come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be (Genesis 49:10). "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2). Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (literally, "God-with-us" in Hebrew) (Isaiah 7:14). For unto us a child is born, unto to us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6, KJV).
The fulfillment of over 300 Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah started with Christmas. As you can see above, these predictions included (i) the time of His birth being before the Jewish people lost their sovereign power to 1st Century Rome when Archelaus took the throne in Israel; (ii) Bethlehem, a small insignificant town, being the place of His birth; and (iii) that He would be born of a virgin. All of these prophecies show up in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint versions of the Jewish scriptures, which have been established by secular sources as predating Jesus Christ by between 100 and 250 years. It is amazing to note that when Israel's religious elite cried, "Woe to us, for the scepter has been removed and the Messiah has not come!" (Talmud, Babylon, Sanhedrin), Jesus had already been born and He was growing as a young boy in Galilee.
Christmas Origin - God's Plan for the World Revealed
The Christmas origin has pagan roots. That is well documented. The Christmas season is sadly over-commercialized. That is apparent to all of us. However, the message of Christmas is true, and the implications of Jesus' historical birth in Bethlehem about 2,000 years ago are enormous for all of us. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, humbled Himself and came to the world as a little baby born in a manger. Was He born on December 25th? Probably not - that's a date chosen by the early Roman church to correspond to a preexistent Winter solstice festival. Regardless, the truth of His birth (whether in late summer, early autumn, or otherwise) cannot be denied. Jesus Christ was undoubtedly an historic figure, and His purpose was simply to fulfill the meaning of His name, "The Lord Saves."
After His birth, Jesus grew to be a man and started His public ministry at the age of 30. He was called many things by many people, including a great man, a great teacher and a great prophet. He did remarkable wonders and acts of charity, and He died a horrible death on a Roman cross for the crime of blasphemy. But was Jesus Christ God incarnate? Did He rise from the dead three days after His crucifixion? Christmas is a time to genuinely open our hearts and earnestly seek the truth about our Messiah. Jesus told us who He was and is - He didn't mince words. "I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." (John 14:6). "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life" (John 3:36).
Christmas Origin - The Greatest Gift of All!
The Christmas origin, at its meaningful heart, began about 2,000 years ago in a manger in Bethlehem. The Christmas story is simple -- Jesus wishes to be born within your heart today! As we hustle about the shopping malls this Christmas season looking for that perfect gift, let's all reflect on the greatest Christmas gift of all. Open your heart to the Messiah who was born in a manger in humility, died on a cross in love, and rose from the grave in glory. Accept the gift of Jesus Christ this Christmas - the most glorious gift in all history!