by Steven Chan
Every year, around this time of the year, the world remembers the birth of Jesus even though many of them do not know who He was, neither followed His teachings. Many join in the singing of songs heralding His coming into the world to bring peace and goodwill among men. If only they will listen to His teachings concerning salvation and accept the gift of God’s grace.
Indeed the birth of Jesus Christ was prophesied more than 700 years earlier. In Isa 7:14, God through the prophet Isaiah declared: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Matthew, who was one of the disciples of Jesus, was inspired to record the fulfilment of this prophecy in Matt 1:22-23: “So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” This was an incredible fulfilment of prophecies – indicating the fact that the Scriptures are inspired and also of the divine nature of Jesus – He was not an ordinary person. He was “God with us”: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”(John 1:14)
The apostle Paul wrote in Gal 4:4-5: “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” The birth of Jesus was an integral part of God’s plan of salvation for mankind. The Bible explains to us in Heb 2:14-15: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil”
So, when Jesus was born, the Bible recorded the event as follows in Luke 2:6-11: “So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
While we rejoice in His birth, it was in His Death and Resurrection from the dead that He has given us the victory over death as was well expressed by the apostle Paul in Rom 1:1-4: “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Because Jesus has overcome death, He is able to give us the victory over death: “The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Cor 15:56-58).
Jesus therefore inaugurated the Lord’s Supper as the manner by which we ought to remember Him. His death and resurrection gave us the hope of the resurrection and victory over death: The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Cor 11:23-26:
“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”
The Lord’s Supper is what those who follow Jesus will observe each first day of the week – just like the early Christians did in Acts 20:7 – in remembrance of Him and His sacrifice on the cross so that we can have forgiveness of sins and the hope of heaven if we will deny ourselves and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Jesus did not ask us to celebrate Christmas or His birthday. His early disciples did not celebrate His birthday. In fact, almost everyone agrees that Dec 25 was not the actual birthday of Jesus because the Bible tells us in Luke 2:8 that it was not winter time as the shepherds were still out in the fields. History tells us that the date December 25 was borrowed much later from the pagans who celebrated their god on that day. But today Christmas is almost synonymous with Christianity in the eyes of the world so much so that people doubt our faith in Jesus Christ (and think that we are crazy!) when we explain to them that the Bible does not teach anything about Christmas or Santa Claus or Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer or even Christmas trees!!
So, while the world celebrates Christmas in whatever way they deem fit (many in revelries and drunken parties, etc), let’s be reminded by what Jesus said in Luke 6:46: “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” Inasmuch as many desire to celebrate His birth, perhaps they should consider following through with “doing what He has commanded?” just as He said in John 14:15: “”If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Let’s remember Jesus in the manner that He has specified and let us do what He says – and not do whatever we ourselves devise or desire. Let’s be truly thankful that God sent Jesus into the world because He loved us so much: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”(John 3:16). Let’s remember Him when we partake the Lord’s Supper each Sunday as He has instituted it