Each year at Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, which should remind us that the entire Western World reckons its calendar from the birth of the One who changed the world more than any other before or since.
There is another aspect to keep in mind this Christmas season. As we recall the prophecy in Micah that prescribes that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, notice the entire verse:
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
Also, as we recall that other familiar prophecy in Isaiah, note again the whole verse:
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, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the Throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.
— Isaiah 9:6–7
The “Throne of David” is not just an Old Testament concept. Remember the Angel Gabriel’s promise to Mary:
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
— Luke 1:31–33
But did Jesus ever actually sit on David’s throne? He couldn’t have. It didn’t exist at that time. Jeconaiah was the last of David’s line to sit on the throne. (Remember, the blood curse on his line.) Herod, appointed by the Romans, was an Edomite (“Idumean”). He wasn’t even Jewish.
At the moment, Jesus is sitting on His Father’s Throne. The question is, will He ever sit on David’s throne? Will the promise that Gabriel announced to Mary also be fulfilled? Of course. (And it may be sooner than we think.)
Keeping Christ in Christmas
Christians today tend to fight the ongoing secularization of their holidays. Some have rejected anything to do with them, saying they are not Biblically ordained. Others have tried to go back to keeping the Jewish feasts instead. It should be pointed out that the New Testament doesn’t really ordain anything other than the Lord’s Supper. But it does not prohibit it either, and under grace Christians are free to honor different days if they wish.
Those families who want to keep Christ as the center of Christmas may find it easier to do by understanding the various symbols that have been used to celebrate Christ’s birth through the ages and using them to retain the uniqueness inherent in the mystery of the incarnation: the birth of the Son of God. For instance, at Christmas we remember the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh presented by the Magi. These prophetic gifts celebrated his deity, priesthood, and death. When He returns to establish His Kingdom, He will be presented only with gold and frankincense. There will be no myrrh: His death is now behind Him.
Let’s make this season a real celebration. What are you giving Him this Christmas? Is there something in your life He would like to see you part with?