Summary: The plan of salvation had been put into place before the universe was created. Before anything ever existed, the Triune God set the day when God would become a man and walk among humankind.
What Does Christmas Mean?
TEXT: Gal. 4:4-7
Here are some facts about Christmas from The History Channel Website:
• Each year, 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States alone.
• Today, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day.
• In the Middle Ages, Christmas celebrations were rowdy and raucous—a lot like today’s Mardi Gras parties.
• From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was outlawed in Boston by the Puritans, and law-breakers were fined five shillings.
• Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday in the United States until June 26, 1870.
• The first eggnog made in the United States was consumed in Captain John Smith’s 1607 Jamestown settlement.
• The Salvation Army has been sending Santa Claus-clad donation collectors into the streets since the 1890s.
• Rudolph, “the most famous reindeer of all,” was the product of Robert L. May’s imagination in 1939. The copywriter wrote a poem about the reindeer to help lure customers into the Montgomery Ward department store.
Those are all interesting, but the real, most important fact about Christmas is in our text: Paul wrote by the Spirit that “…the fulness of time had come and God sent forth His Son.” The vast, magnificent plan of salvation had been put into place before the universe was ever created. Before anything ever existed, when there was only the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirt, even then, the day had been set when God would become man, and dwell on the earth He had created, and walk among humankind. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke don’t give us a date for the birth of Jesus, and it’s a likely probability that Jesus was not born on December 25th. Why would shepherds be tending their flocks in the winter? But let theologians quibble, what matters is that He WAS BORN.
There was no chance, or happen-stance, or fate involved. In the eternal counsels of the Holy Trinity, it was determined, that when the exact religious, social, cultural, and political conditions demanded by His perfect plan were in place, Jesus would come into the world. John MacArthur says this about our text: ”…As a father set the time for the ceremony of his son coming of age and being released from the guardians, stewards, and tutors, so God sent His Son at the precise moment to bring all who believe in Him out from under bondage to the law—a truth Jesus repeatedly affirmed…That the Father sent Jesus into the world teaches His the preexistence of Jesus as the eternal second member of the Trinity…born of a woman…emphasizes Jesus’ full humanity, not merely His virgin birth. Jesus had to be fully God for His sacrifice to be of the infinite worth needed to atone for sin. But He also had to be fully man, so He could take upon Himself the penalty of sin as the substitute for man…’ so that His “…perfect righteousness…” could be “imputed to those who believe in Him…”
He came to redeem sinners who are under the demands and curses of the law, and who needed a Savior. He came not only to redeem – to buy sinners back from the devel, to whom they were in bondage, but He also came to do much more: to adopt us as His very own children. Since unregenerate people are by nature children of the devil, the only way they can become God’s children is by spiritual adoption.
Let’s look at what Christmas means? It means God came to this earth to be born a man, and to live among humankind.
I. Because He was born, we can have His unceasing presence
A. Can you imagine a prayer of Jesus being unanswered? I can’t. when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He said He was not praying for the world, but for His disciples, and for all those “…which shall believe on Me through their word.”
B. He then went on to pray: “…that all those may all be one, just as you, Father, are in Me, and I in you, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me…that they may be one even as We are one, I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved Me” (John 17:21-23).
1. That prayer was answered. So now, from God’s perspective, all those who belong to Christ, are one with Christ and the Father.
2. That means He is always and will always be WITH us.
3. We have unceasing presence.