Just as they had been told.
(Luke 2:20, NIV)
Christmas is a wonderful time of celebration, but sometimes the biblical facts surrounding the holiday are obscured by the bustle of the season. This happens to me when I approach the holidays after an exhausting year of chores. Seasonal activities like decorating Christmas trees, buying presents, attending family gatherings, and other good things sometimes undermine my sense of the enormity of Christmas. When I catch my breath, the biblical facts appear in bold relief: “The most exalted of the kings of the earth” (Psalm 89:27) was born in a manger in Bethlehem, rather than in Jerusalem; and the heavenly hosts, shepherds, and visitors from the east all worshiped our King!
My Bibles usually have a chart that summarizes the prophecies fulfilled by Christ’s Advent. I regularly review the many references to the Incarnation, which seemingly cover every detail of this marvelous, miraculous event. Some examples I see in the Christmas narratives are “all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said” (Matthew 1:22); Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, praised God for raising up “a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David” (Luke 1:69; Psalm 89:19–29); and the shepherds glorified God “for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told” (Luke 2:20). These fulfilled predictions of Christ’s Advent provide assurances that the prophecies of His Second Coming will also be fulfilled.
I will continue the Christmas celebrations, but not at the expense of neglecting the Trinity’s love that saves us. In times of conflict and COVID-19, Christmas is foundational for my joy in the “blessed hope” of His return. It is the season for all of us to renew our confidence in God’s Word as the inspired guide for our journey on earth as we pray, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”