God with Us
by Kim Larsen
Matthew 1:21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”
We have less than one week until the day that many wait all year for. People everywhere are finishing shopping, making cookies, decorating, preparing for the big meal and all of the relatives that will be stopping in to share their good tidings. Things like this always make me stop and think. What would Jesus think of all of this havoc over his birthday? It’s like we are all preparing for the birthday party but we forget who the guest of honor is! Indeed which is more important? To remember His birth or to remember why He came ? I choose to think that the latter is probably what He wants us to focus on.
There has been many commentaries written on why we celebrate on December 25, when in reality Jesus was probably born between Spring and early Fall. Some scientists say that the star of Bethlehem may have been Venus and Jupiter coming together to form a bright light in the sky. Using computer models, it can be determined that this rare event occurred on June 17 in the year 2 B.C. Theologians have suggested that Jesus was born in the Spring based on the shepherds being in the fields. Others start their search from the conception of John the Baptist in June, count forward six months to arrive at Gabriel’s announcement then count forward 9 months to September.
The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336 AD during the time of Roman Emperor Constantine. A few years later Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus should be December 25 at the Winter Equinox. There was already a festival to the Sun God at that time because the return of the Sun.
I don’t know what you think of that, but that kind of takes the wind out of my sails a bit. While it is interesting to know Jesus’ birth from a historical perspective; it is really irrelevant and holds very little importance when looking at the bigger picture. It is less important that we know when and more important to know that it happened and why it happened.
Satan was exulting that he had succeeded in debasing the image of God in humanity. Then Jesus came to restore in man the image of his Maker. None but Christ can fashion anew the character that has been ruined by sin. He came to expel the demons that had controlled the will. He came to lift us up from the dust, to reshape the marred character after the pattern of His divine character, and to make it beautiful with His own glory.
So when you celebrate Christmas this year, amid all of the hoopla, take time to remember why He came, and what was accomplished at the death of our dear Saviour. Since Jesus came to dwell with us, we know that God is acquainted with our trials, and sympathizes with our griefs. Every son and daughter of Adam may understand that our Creator is the friend of sinners. For in every doctrine of grace, every promise of joy, every deed of love, every divine attraction presented in the Saviour’s life on earth we see “God with us.”