With the last post, I commented on the whole overarching narrative of the birth of Christ and pointed out that, in response to the revelations made about Christ, everyone in the story either worshiped God or waged war against him. As I was thinking and reading those narratives again, I started reflecting on how much was revealed about Christ and how little of that revelation is part of our “Christmas talk”. I’ve compiled a short list of all the facts about Christ that are revealed by the Lord/Angles/prophecy in the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke:
1. Joseph was a descendant of King David (Matt. 1:20)
2. Jesus would be given the throne of David by God himself (Luke 1:32)
3. Jesus would rule over Israel (Luke 1:33)
4. Jesus would have an everlasting reign (Luke 1:32)
5. Jesus would be conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:35)
6. Jesus would be the Son of God (Luke 1:32, 35)
7. Jesus’ birth could be ensured by the sign of the birth of John the Baptist through Elizabeth, who was barren (Luke 1:36)
8. Jesus would be holy (Luke 1:35)
9. Jesus was a savior (Matt. 1:21; Luke 2:11)
10. Jesus was going to save his people (Matt. 1:21; Luke 1:68-69; 2:14) (not everyone who ever lived).
11. Jesus was going to save his people from their sins (Matt. 1:21; Luke 1:74-75, 77, 79).
12. Jesus was going to save his people from all their enemies (Luke 1:71)
13. Jesus was Lord (Luke 1:43, 76; 2:11)
14. The conception of Jesus occurred the way it did to fulfill the word of God (Luke 1:45)
15. Jesus would be a blessing to all nations (Luke 1:48)
16. Jesus’ birth was in fulfillment of promises made to Abraham and his offspring (Luke 1:54-55, 70, 72-73)
17. Jesus birth was an evidence of the immeasurable mercy of God (Luke 1:54, 78)
18. Jesus came from the dwelling place of God (Luke 1:78)
19. Jesus would lead people away from death (Luke 1:79)
20. Jesus would lead people into peace with God (Luke 1:79; 2:14)
21. The news of Christ is for all people (Luke 2:10)
I would suggest that the 21 points on that list are the reasons why Christmas, unlike all other holidays, is merry. Christmas is a time for celebrating the mercy-outpouring, promise-keeping, kingdom-inaugurating, saving work of God in the incarnation of Jesus. Christmas is merry because Christmas is the first component of the gospel.
May all my readers truly have a Merry Christmas.
Until Next Time,
Lyndon “The Rocking Chair Theologian” Unger