Why do Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ every year? One reason is that this birth was no ordinary event. It was an event of great mystery, great condescension, and great love.
Long before Jesus Christ was born, God had already revealed many facts concerning His birth through ancient prophets. The prophet Micah foretold the place where Jesus would be born: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2) Seven centuries later Jesus was born in Bethlehem exactly as Micah had foretold.
The prophet Isaiah foretold His birth and also what He would be: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) Seven centuries later angels appeared to some shepherds to announce that this prophecy had been fulfilled. They said, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11).
The birth of Jesus was God’s entrance into this world. God had always existed from the beginning of time. But 2,000 years ago, He entered into the world through the process of human birth. But how can the Almighty God be reduced to being a helpless little baby? The Bible itself says, “… great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)
This must ever remain a mystery to us because our human minds are incapable of understanding it. We accept it by faith in God’s written Word.
God had to pay a tremendous price in order to become an ordinary creature like us. He had to submit Himself to being limited by time and space. He had to temporarily put aside His unlimited powers and unlimited knowledge. Jesus Christ lived without many comforts of life. He said concerning Himself: “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)
We are now enjoying a better standard of living than what we had 60 years ago. At that time many were living in wooden houses. There was no proper water and electric supply. The environment was not clean, and the standard of hygiene was low. Toilets were shared and the bucket system was used to dispose of waste. Bus transport was slow and tedious. Now most of us are living in nice homes. Water, electric supply come right into our homes. Each home has its own flushing toilet. We have got used to living in a city that is clean and green. We have got used to travelling long distances quickly by MRT. Would anyone like to go back now to the former standard of living we had 60 years ago? After we have got so used to a better life, it is very hard to go back to a lower standard of living.
But this is what God did when He came to live in this world. It involved untold sacrifice and humiliation for Himself. To make matters worse, He had to endure living in a world that is full of sin although He is absolutely pure and cannot tolerate sin at all. It is different for us because we are all sinners who are used to living in a sinful environment. We do not like the effects of sin, but we do not really feel much discomfort to be immersed in a world of sin.
But to Jesus Christ, every moment in a world of sin was most unpleasant because of His absolute holiness. It is like putting someone who is allergic to dust in a dusty room. And at the end of His earthly life, Jesus even became the victim of the sins of men. He experienced the agony of dying a most painful death. According to the Bible, Jesus “… made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:7,8)
God could have easily chosen to remain as He had been from eternity and never become like us. Why then did He do it? What was it that made the Almighty God lower Himself to become as a man among us?
God loved us so much that He came down here to save us. He had created man to enjoy intimate fellowship with Him. But this was spoiled when man sinned deliberately and separated himself from God. Because of sin, we were all doomed to die and to be punished eternally in Hell. And we were totally unable to save ourselves from that in any way.
But God Himself provided a way to save us. He did this by coming into this world as a man and dying on the cross in our place to bear the punishment for our sins. The Bible says, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). This is the Good News that we want to proclaim: God loved us so much that He came to earth to die for our sins. And if you will turn to Him now for salvation, He will save you. Jesus said, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
The celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ lasts only for a short time each year. But the joy of being saved from sin goes on forever and ever. When you receive Jesus Christ into your life you are restored back to fellowship with God. That wonderful fellowship begins here on earth when you are saved and it continues even after you die, for you will immediately go to be with God in heaven.
This joy can be yours right now if you will turn away from your sins and ask Jesus Christ to save you. The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31) Will you turn to Jesus Christ right now? The Bible tells us that all the angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner who repents of his sins and turns to Jesus Christ for salvation. Will all the angels of heaven also rejoice with you today for your salvation?