Devotional

The Christmas Story Unfolds

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Matthew 1:1, Genesis 3:14-15

Perhaps it will surprise you to know that the Christmas story begins in Genesis. We need to look at some background. The earth was not God’s first creation. Created beings lived with Him in heaven long before earth took shape. How long Lucifer, one of many angels, existed before the creation of man, we are not told.

God created Lucifer [meaning “Shining One”]. Ezekiel describes him as chief among the angels, powerful, intelligent and very beautiful (Ezekiel 28:13-17). What we learn from Ezekiel and Isaiah is that rivalry developed; Satan wanted not just to be like God, but to be in control (Isaiah 14:12-14). That is when things began to fall apart. It is important for us to understand that God did not create evil in the person of Satan [meaning “accuser”]. Privileges were taken for granted, as power was coveted, and Satan’s attempt to seduce Eve and Adam demonstrated his continuing efforts to control God’s creation.

How does this relate to Christmas? As God cursed the serpent, the creature used by Satan to tempt Eve, He predicted that Satan would bruise the heel of One who would actually extinguish any power the Devil gained in the intervening years, by crushing Satan’s head (Genesis 3:14-15). From the beginning, God had the plan.

We know of course, that this is what happened during the Easter event when Jesus was crucified (bruised seems a light term for His great suffering). But wait! Jesus rose from the dead – the Divine Conqueror of death! His resurrection crushed the determined efforts of the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10). This chapter describes that final battle in heaven. As the Devil is hurled to the earth, salvation is complete; the power of the Kingdom of God, authorized by the blood of Christ, overcomes Satan at last!

How is all of this possible? God sent a tiny baby, born of a virgin to bless all nations of the earth (Isaiah 7:14). God’s Kingdom would be ruled by this baby, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas time! He was also fulfillment of a prophecy given thousands of years before to a man named Abram. The author of Genesis writes the promise of God to this man He renamed Abraham [meaning “father of a great number”]. “I will make you a great nation….and all people on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2-3). That promise was repeated to God’s covenant people, the nation He promised Abraham’s progeny would become.

Matthew begins his gospel “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac…..” (Matthew 1:1). Writing specifically to the Jews, it was crucial for Matthew to begin with the one they called ‘Father Abraham’. Ryrie explains: “The common teaching of that day said the Jews participated in the merits of Abraham, which made their prayers acceptable, helped in war, expiated sins, appeased the wrath of God and ensured a share in God’s eternal kingdom” (Page 1463 Ryrie Study Bible) No wonder they were so shocked when John and Jesus preached the need for personal repentance! All along they had depended on Abraham to ensure their eternal destiny.

The Apostle John records the dissension caused by Jesus, claiming God as His Father (John 8:33-58). His statement that He existed before Abraham was the final straw. This was blasphemy in the ears of orthodox Jews. Yet here we are celebrating Jesus! Not only do we rejoice in His birth, but His life has given each believer eternal life! So at Christmas it really is impossible to remember His birth, miraculous as it was, without thinking of His death on a cross. Hallelujah! That was not the end; He rose again to bring spiritual healing and glorious hope to all who would believe and receive Him! (John 1:12-13).

Reflection:

Isn’t it exciting to see how the Bible draws together events that have been planned in the mind of God from the very beginning of time! This gives me great hope for the future, even when times are tough. Our God is an awesome God!

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

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