Have you ever been around one of those children that are constantly asking, “Why?”
“Why is the sky blue?”
“Why are some people mean?”
“Why don’t snails have legs?”
“Why can’t I eat ice cream before dinner?”
Everyone knows the kid I am talking about. I was one of those children.
We are in the Christmas season. Have you ever asked yourself, “Why Christmas?”
Before someone gets on the soapbox that the church selected December 25 because of the whole pagan holiday thing; stop now; you are not answering the question. The question is not, “Why is Christmas on December 25?” The question is – “Why Christmas?” Why do we have the holiday at all?
If a child would ask, “Mom, why do we celebrate Christmas?” Hopefully, Mom would reply, “It’s Jesus’ birthday.”
However, to my childlike mind, that is not enough. We do not celebrate any other birthdays in America except people we know. When I was a child, Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays were holidays, but now it is Presidents Day. Even Columbus Day is not his birthday, but the day he first landed in the Western Hemisphere (October 12). So, what makes Jesus’ birth so unique? The circumstances around His birth and His name answers our questions.
Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
Some modern translations play down the virgin birth by using “young maiden” here in Isaiah. However, the New Testament calls her a “virgin” three times and mentions that she “does not know a man.” It talks of how Mary was with child before she and Joseph “came together.” The New Testament proves that “virgin” is the proper translation for Isaiah.
Why was it necessary for His mother to be a virgin? We’ll get to that in a minute.
The name Immanuel is also essential in answering the question, “Why Christmas?”
Matthew 1:23 tells us the meaning of the name, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
In trying to answer, “Why Christmas?” I find my mind filled with more “why” questions – Why a virgin? Why did God have to be with us? Why would the Creator of the universe trade His throne in heaven for a watering trough? Why would God – the most powerful thing in existence – become a helpless newborn baby?
Jesus said he came to fulfill the law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17). The virgin part of Christmas is one of the prophecies fulfilled by Christ, but what about the law?
The law – God’s commandments. A big problem with the law is that none of us besides God can obey it one-hundred percent. Okay, you may not be a murderer or a rapist, but all of us have broken at least one of God’s commandments. We have all told at least one lie in our lifetime. At one time or another, we have all had lust in our hearts. Hatred toward another individual; true, we did not punch them in the nose, but we still wanted to swing that right hook. These thoughts, actions, and hundreds more break the law; we are all guilty.
The law also says that “without shedding of blood is no remission.” Sin cannot be washed away without the shedding of blood. It is in the law.
Our blood cannot wash away sin because it is already tainted with sin. That gives us a huge problem. Because of the law, only sinless blood can erase our sin.
Since sinless blood is the only thing that can eradicate sin, God needed to come here to shed His blood, the only blood not tainted by sin, to cleanse us from our sin. This fact is why Jesus is the “Lamb of God.” He is the only one that can be the sacrifice for our sins.
Now we can see why a virgin is needed. Suppose Joseph or any other man is Jesus’ father. In that case, Jesus is not the Son of God, and His blood is tainted with sin, and therefore He could not be the sacrifice, the Lamb of God.
Why Christmas? – It is the salvation story. We are all separated from God by our sin. The law needed satisfaction – sinless blood is required to wash sins away. God came to earth through the womb of a virgin so that He could die on the cross to shed the blood necessary to save us from the curse of sin.
Isaiah 53:5,11, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed….He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”
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With houses of worship still under restrictions across much of the nation, the editors of the Baltimore Post-Examiner are inviting an array of spiritual teachers to share insights from the ages along with words of comfort and encouragement. These timely messages are not exclusive to any particular faith walk and will be included in our ongoing Spirituality series.
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com