■ By Susan Beckett / Contributed
For years our church, Dwelling Place City Church, has participated in the annual Hemet Christmas parade. One year the theme for the parade was “The Greatest Gift.” Of course, as a church, to us the greatest gift was God giving His Son, Jesus Christ, which is the entire reason we even celebrate Christmas. His birth is the “Reason for the Season” as the saying goes.
On this particular year, we built a giant float that carried our entire worship team, followed by more than 80 dancers, flag and banner carriers, a Kid’s Train, our congregation on flatbed trailers, a giant red cross, plus three wisemen on camels. In the middle of all this, one of our congregants dressed up as Jesus, preceded by a banner which read, “The Greatest Gift!”
Well, come Monday morning, the church office received a phone call from an irate mother who was extremely annoyed that we had even dared to suggest that Jesus was “The Greatest Gift.” Apparently she and her young son had attended the parade that weekend and when she saw our church sign with the parade theme on it coming down the street, she excitedly told her young son to watch for Santa Claus.
She was extremely displeased that we had suggested Christmas was about anything other than Santa and Christmas presents — apparently her idea of “The Greatest Gift.” How sad. Shiny new bicycles are terrific, bright new toys light up a child’s eyes and Santas at the mall are so much fun. But none of those can hold a candle to the gift of Jesus, given to all mankind more than 2,000 years ago! What an extraordinary and remarkable gift that was!
Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.”
– Luke 2:15-16
But it’s even more amazing when you consider all the fulfilled prophecies in the Old Testament concerning His birth, life, death and resurrection. The Old Testament was completed in 450 B.C., hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus. So hundreds of years before He was born, it was predicted that Jesus would be born of a virgin, He would be born in Bethlehem, He would be called a Nazarene and be a descendant of David, He would be fully God and fully man, a Lamb without blemish, He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver by a friend, He would die for mankind…even His resurrection was predicted. The list of fulfilled prophecies totals more than 300.
“Mathematically speaking, the odds of anyone fulfilling this amount of prophecy is staggering,” according to a report on the Christian Broadcasting Network.
“Mathematicians put it this way: the chance of one person fulfilling eight of these more than 300 prophecies is 1:100,000,000,000,000,000. The chance of one person fulfilling 48 of these prophecies is 1 chance in 10 to the 157th power. And one person fulfilling all 300+ prophecies? Only Jesus!”
Think about it — that every single one of these more than 300 prophecies would be fulfilled by one man is not only improbable but impossible – except for the historical fact that one man did fulfill them all! Again, Jesus is truly the greatest gift of all eternity!
Terry Mark says it perfectly, “A gift may look ordinary but when given with love, becomes a treasure for a lifetime. Christmas reminds us of God’s extraordinary gift of salvation and the eternal treasure we have in Jesus Christ.”
It’s been said that “Jesus is the light of Christmas, the joy of our hearts, and the hope of our world.” You see, the magic of Christmas is not in the presents, but in His presence.
So go ahead and sing your heart out, listen to Christmas carols, see Santa, eat too many sweets and put some silly reindeer antlers on your dog. Bake cookies with gobs of icing, give incredibly fun gifts, decorate your Christmas tree, put up lights and attend a church service, because we’ve got good reason to celebrate!
Come and behold Him, born the King of Angels.