“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” – Luke 2: 10-14
December 25th is a birthday like no other.
For 160 countries and billions of Christians the world over, Christmas Day is more than a holiday from work or school, it is the day set aside on the Christian calendar to remember and celebrate the miraculous birth of a True Savior.
Here in the western world, we honor this unforgettable event in human history, by coming together in the spirit of giving, love and hope for mankind. Though in modern times, the celebration has become highly commercialized, it has remained in the hearts of many believers, a day to share in the gifts of charity and good-will.
Scriptures tell us that this very special nativity of the Son of God among men had been prophesied repeatedly through the ages and though His birth and destiny had been foretold, the world was not prepared for His coming.
Since the days of His walk on this earth, believers have come to better understand that great gift. The truth that God had prepared a way for mankind’s redemption through the birth and sacrifice of His only son.
In the coming year, we will take time to celebrate and remember the birthday of our loved ones as well as our own. When is your birthday? What did you do to prepare for your own birth?
The truth is, you didn’t. There was not one single thing you did to afford you the opportunity to be born. Your own birthday is an event beyond your own devise.
Through no plotting or action of your own design, you were awarded the greatest gift anyone could receive. The gift of life. Jesus sought to use this truth to explain to Nicodemus the gift of salvation in John 3:1-6
“[Nicodemus] came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God, for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.”
In all his learning, Nicodemus missed the analogy Jesus illustrated in this passage. It is made clear he failed to grasp the parallels when in the next passage Jesus says, “Marvel not, that I say unto thee, Ye must be born again.” Nicodemus seems to have been a very literal man and his interpretation fails to comprehend Jesus’ analogy. In His profound teaching, Jesus was consoling a confused Nicodemus by saying in effect…Don’t over think it. When we are “born of water” as Jesus explains it, we are beautifully and powerfully removed from the only world we ever knew – our mother’s womb. A world of darkness and seclusion.
In utero, we are for all intents and purposes a hidden thing; separated from a much larger world. Through no design or action of our own, we are gifted life and delivered into a great new world. A world in which we are nursed and cared for and grow. But Jesus talked with Nicodemus of a second birth. He explained that to see the kingdom of God, one must be “born of the spirit” – that is, to be “born again”. But this second birth, is not unlike the first.
While Nicodemus marveled at the idea of a second physical birthday, Jesus was illustrating a spiritual birthday. One in which the spirit is beautifully and powerfully delivered out of darkness and isolation and into a greater awakening. No longer hidden from the spiritual world but delivered into it, with new power and authority. And just as you were “born of water” and received the gift of life, so to do you receive a gift of life when you are “born of the spirit”. The gift of eternal life.
As it says in Romans 6:22-23
“But now, being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The gift of eternal life, deliverance from sin, and the kingdom of God is a free gift to any who would receive it. Just as your own physical birth was a free, unearned gift, so is salvation.
A physical birth is, in its own way a transformation, not a transaction you can pay of your own ability. There is no price to be paid to obtain the gift of physical life. Only deliverance (usually, though not always) through the help of others. Being born again is in every way the same. The price for your redemption has been paid, so that it maybe a free gift to you.
Some 2,000 years ago, a great mystery walked this earth. But before he was a teacher or a prophet he was a new born baby birthed in a manger. A child of God, destined to be a sacrificial lamb for the redemption of all mankind.
“That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” – John 3:15-17
Of all the gifts anyone could receive, the gift of eternal life is the greatest of all. Share the good news with others. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and God Bless you all in 2018.
Submitted by Christy Peers