Christmas Greetings 2014
Christmas is a Christian holiday with a tradition of approximately 1700 years. In an old list of Roman bishops, compiled sometime around A.D. 354, we find the following statement: “December 25th, Christ born in Bethlehem, Judea.” Prior to this date, Christ’s birth was dated nine other times in the year, in the spring and as we in the fall. Today, it is just out of tradition that we continue to celebrate on December 24.
Perhaps, the date is not as important as the fact that Jesus Christ was born about 2000 years ago for the purpose of saving the human race from the curse of eternal death due to sin, transgression, and human rebellion against the supreme authority of God. Our modern society has largely forgotten why He was born. Most of us have grown believing in a fictional character that seems to live forever and only shows up around the Christmas season to give presents to children who have been good and withhold gifts from those who have misbehaved throughout the year.
The Bible, however, provides us with a factual account of the birth of the Messiah, who fulfilled more than 300 Jewish prophecies that predicted not only His birth but his work, life and untimely death. It begs to question why? Why would a human being be born with the mission to die for sins or trespasses against God which He Himself never committed? Perhaps, just as impressive a question is how can one lone being fulfilled several hundred prophecies about Him that were written hundreds of years before? What are the odds of even one being fulfilled, if at all?
For centuries the Bible has provided the answer: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22, NIV) "He [God the Father] made Him [Jesus Christ] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)
It was necessary for the Second Person of the Godhead to enter human history to save humanity from certain death and provide His fallen creation with eternal life and promise to make everything new in a world without sorrow, suffering, and violence. (Revelation 21:3, 4; 22:3-5, NIV) If He had not done so, the message of the Christian Church would be meaningless —a farce or a money-making scheme or some fantasy that never took place or will never happen.
Fortunately, the faithful record of the Scriptures do not leave us empty handed or in the world of make-believe: “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8, NIV)
It was love for humanity that prompted our Heavenly Father to sacrifice His Son for us, thus sparing us eternal death. His desire is to give you and your family life eternal and eventually live in the very presence of a holy God. Humanity seeks to hide from God, but God seeks us daily to acknowledge His love for us. Only His love can lead to eternal life, nothing else will do.
Just as sure as His first birth was fulfilled more than 2000 years ago, He promised to return to establish a new world order under the direct leadership of God Himself. Christmas, in a way, is God’s downpayment to us —an insurance that His promises are trustworthy, that just as He entered human history in a sinful world, He will also end this world of suffering and establish a new world where there will be no more death. You can count on it. May the Lord bless you and you family during this Christmas season and may His Spirit lead you closer to Him and now and forever more.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
Victor and Pamela Reyes-Prieto
Seventh-day Adventist Church
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