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Summary: As the carol says, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas." It's that time of year again: decorations, shopping, etc. Plans and preparations for Christmas-we all do it. Well, God was no different. He also made preparations for that first Christmas.

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CHRISTMAS PREPARATIONS

INTRODUCTION: Like the carol says, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go." It's that time of year again. We've transitioned from Thanksgiving to Christmas; or if you're in retail you transition from Halloween to Christmas.

But now is the time for preparations to be made. You decorate, you get the tree out of the shed, or the woods-whichever you prefer. You make your shopping list and then put on your helmet and pads and head to the mall. You go to the grocery store and get the items for that extra special Christmas dinner and all the yummy desserts.

Some of us make travel plans and we make sure everything is packed and ready to go. Plans and preparations for Christmas-we all do it. Well, God was no different. He also made preparations for that first Christmas.

1) Preparation through prophecy.

Some people wait until the last minute to do their preparations. They're the ones going to the store on Christmas Eve to look for cards or presents. Then there are those who start planning on December 26th for the following Christmas. Not that it's a bad idea-a lot of things like wrapping paper are marked down and you can get a lot of bargains that way. You can get that marked down fruit cake and save it for next year.

God started planning early too. Of course sending Jesus was the plan from the very beginning. And we see that God started revealing the coming of Jesus right from the very beginning. After Adam and Eve sinned, God meted out his punishments. When he addressed the serpent (Satan) he said this in

Genesis 3:15, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

Here is the first prophecy pertaining to Jesus. You might be thinking, 'what's this got to do with Jesus?' First we see that there would be ongoing hatred and hostility between mankind and Satan. Just as Adam and Eve's choice through Satan's tempting made a mess of things, from then on we would see the dynamic between Satan and man. Satan hates God and in turn he hates us because Satan hates what God loves. So Satan's purpose is to always get man to go against God.

Then we get to the second part of that verse-'he will crush your head and you will strike his heel'. Notice the 'he' in this-he will crush your head and you will strike his heel. And notice that God is referencing only Eve here-'the seed of the woman'. Jesus was born of a virgin. There was no "Adam" in the sense of a human counterpart to the birth of Jesus. Jesus is the offspring that was sent to crush the head of Satan by triumphing over evil at the cross. Satan may have struck his heel when he was crucified but Jesus got the victory when he resurrected; he crushed the head of the serpent.

Col. 2:15, "And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross."

From the beginning God wanted to communicate that there would come a time when the damage that Satan caused would be rectified and the hostility between man and God because of sin would be wiped out through Christ. The power of sin and death would be crushed by Jesus. That was the hope of mankind. That's why he came. 1st John 3:8 says the reason Jesus came was to destroy the devil's work. Jesus came was to destroy what Satan was doing.

Satan tempted Eve and he knew that would trap Adam and they disobeyed God. And that ushered in the need for Jesus to come and destroy Satan's work. So we see God revealing his plan from the beginning for Jesus to come into the world.

And from there on you will see multiple prophecies pertaining to the coming of Jesus. Micah 5:2 states that the ruler of God's people would be born in Bethlehem. Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Mt. 2:1).

When Herod sent out the decree to kill all male babies two-years-old and under Matt. 2:13 says that an angel told Joseph to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt. Matthew connects this to the fulfillment of Hosea 11:1 when God said, 'out of Egypt I called my son'.

In Matt. 21 when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey verses 4-5 highlight the fulfillment of Zech. 9:9 which talks about Zion's king coming to you riding on a donkey.

The book of Isaiah has a lot of prophecies about Jesus. Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." I don't see how much clearer a sign you can get. Chapter 53 very clearly depicts the suffering Jesus would go through for us.

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