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December 4, 2012

THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 4 DECEMBER 2012

Many Americans celebrate the Christmas holiday anticipating time with family and friends, the giving and receiving of gifts, sharing traditions with children, and, of course, the big meals. However, have you truly taken the time to consider the reason why we celebrate Christmas? The holiday is one of the most important and eagerly anticipated of Western societies. Why is it so important and so eagerly anticipated?

Well, certainly we enjoy singing the traditional Christmas carols during this time of year. Carols such as I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Jingle Bells, and White Christmas appeal to our sense and memories. Others such as Away in a Manger, First Noel, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and Silent Night praise the One for whom the holiday is named. I am sure most of you know that Christmas is a compound word composed of “Christ” (literally, the Anointed One or Messiah) and “Mass” (i.e. holy-day), and so the word itself lets us know that it is the day on which we celebrate the birth of God’s Anointed One, Jesus the Messiah (the Christ).

The birth of Jesus of Nazareth was an historical event anticipated for more than 4,000 years (see Gen 3:15). How is it, though, that a mere man could accomplish such a tremendous task? Indeed, a mere man is incapable of completing this work. Romans 3:23 declares, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Therefore, if Jesus were a mere man, then He too would be born a sinner. Was the baby Jesus born to the virgin Mary in the town of Bethlehem nearly 2,000 years ago a mere man? According to the Bible, this Jesus of Nazareth was more than a mere man. Indeed, He was very man, but He was also God of very God (i.e. true God of true God). When He assumed human flesh and a human nature, he did not become any less God, nor was He any less than true God.

The work that Messiah has accomplished requires Him to be fully man, while also being completely free from sin in His body, soul, and spirit. The prophet Isaiah foresaw this over 700 years ago before the birth of Jesus, when he wrote, Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel (God in our midst). Since Adam, the first man, rebelled against the Lord God who created him, he brought sin into God’s created world. Since all men and women, boys and girls, are descendants of Adam, then all humanity, through our genetic composition, has inherited the same nature as Adam. All humanity is sinners by nature, in addition to being sinners by action and thought (Rom 3:1-20).

The good news is that God decreed a plan which would allow His Son to become fully man, yet still be free from both the sin nature of humanity and the sinful actions and thoughts which all members of Adam’s family possess and perform. Adam passed his sin to all humanity, through his seed, thus God would have His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be born of the seed of the woman. Mary became the mother of Jesus before she consummated her marriage to Joseph. By a miraculous work, the Holy Spirit, caused the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary without the normal procreative act of a man and woman.

Consequently, Jesus became a true man—but without sin—while always being true God. He would be able to accomplish the plan of redemption! He would be able to experience manhood completely while accomplishing His work of redeeming a multitude of people from the control of Satan, and from the destructive consequences of sin and rebellion against the Lord God and Creator.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Child, who as a Man, gave His life so by grace through faith in His work alone, we may live with Him in the fullness of His glory for eternity! What a wonderful message to seize our thoughts during this Christmas season!!

REMINDER: next Capitol Bible Study is Tuesday, 11 December