My family has a Christmas tradition, and that is every Christmas we read the nativity story in the book of Luke. I’m sure this is something that a lot of Christian families do every year. If not, why not start this year? And while doing so, consider digging a little deeper into the roots of the Incarnation?
While Luke is a great place to read about the birth of Christ, the prophecies concerning His birth are found all over the Old Testament. Take the book of Isaiah for instance. The virgin birth recorded by Matthew and Luke is prophesied about in Isaiah 7:14 (ESV):
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
The Lord offered a sign to Ahaz the king, and it wasn’t a sign that the king was expecting. Comparatively, King Herod wasn’t looking for the signs of the coming Messiah either, and neither king wanted the Lord poking around in their reigns.
If Herod or his wise advisors or the Pharisees and Sadducees had been looking for signs, they may have remembered the prophecy of where the Messiah was to be born, found in Micah 5:2 (ESV):
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
The people of Jesus’ time were looking for someone to save them, although their idea of salvation and God’s idea of salvation were totally different. While the Jews of Jesus’ day wanted relief from Roman oppression, God was interested in eternal matters and gave the prophet Jeremiah a vision of the salvation to come in Jeremiah 33:14-16 (ESV):
Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’
Spending time in the Old Testament pouring over the prophesied Christmas story is the beginning of God’s great plan of salvation revealed to us in the form of the God-Man, the Christ, the Messiah. Look at how He is described Isaiah 9:6-7 (ESV):
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace – these are all description of our Savior. This is the one who came and paid the penalty of our sins and transgressions against a Holy and Righteous God.
There are many verses outside of the New Testament that point us back to Christ; verses from prophecy, the Psalms, and even verses from the Law all point us back to Him. This Christmas, let’s take the time to not only read the nativity story to our family and to ourselves, but let us enrich our Christmas by learning as much as we can about this Savior and why He came to rescue a fallen people.