The sounds of giggles and the scampering feet of my brother and sister still ring in my ears as we dashed our way to mom and dad’s bedroom Christmas morning. I, being the youngest rug rat, was last to pounce on mom and dad as they sluggishly arose from their early morning slumber.
My favorite memory of Christmas is a new set of “Sizzlers.” Even as I played with these amazing cars I was unaware of anything breathing in the rest of the house, until Tracy, my absolute favorite of all my sister’s friends, unwittingly smashed my new Christmas toy. I harbor no animosity but oh, what I’d give to play with that those Sizzlers again.
Even as Christmas memories in the Weathers family hold a special place in our hearts, I find myself less stunned every year about an increasing agitation concerning the celebration of Jesus’ birth.
The mere mention of the “C” word brings one of two reactions: Great joy, or intense anger, and now that I’m a middle-ager, curiosity has me wondering:
What is the Necessity of Christmas?
The Bible has a lot to say about the necessity of Jesus’ birth from God’s perspective which makes real the depths of man’s depravity and the breadth of God’s mercy.
A simple reading of Matthew 2:1–16 demonstrates the conflict between great joy and intense anger 2,000 years ago when little baby Jesus arrived on the scene.
Since this babe was a threat to Herod’s reign, he murdered, in ISIS fashion, all the boys two years and younger with the objective of killing Jesus in His infancy.
Why such a violent reaction to a tiny baby?
Herod was livid because the legal king to Israel’s throne had just arrived. Herod’s ancestral line stems from Esau, but he abandoned his birthright to Jacob. As such, Herod realized he had no legitimate claim to the throne. Herod was acutely aware that he could be dethroned if he failed to take evasive, even wicked actions to snuff out the infant Savior’s life.
Recognizing the Necessity of Christmas
The need for Christmas was brought about almost immediately following creation by:
- A deceived woman (Gen. 3:13)
- A rebellious man (Gen. 3:1–6; Ro. 5:12–17)
- Our redemptive God (Gal. 4:1–7)
Christmas became necessary in The Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1), perhaps 4,000 years before the first Christmas when Jesus “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
Before people enter the world stage (Genesis 1–2:3) God is simply identified as “God.” This detail is essential because it comes up when Satan deceives Eve. Genesis 2:4 is the first time God uses His forever name, “LORD GOD” (in Hebrew, YHWH Elohim) and it seems that Adam and Eve only knew “LORD God” by this name.
Facts concerning The Garden of Eden lay the groundwork before Eve’s deception (Genesis 2:7–9). First, “LORD God” is the planter. Second, “LORD God” placed Adam there. Third, “LORD God” caused every tree to grow.
Each tree is pleasing to their sight and is good for food. However, “LORD God” highlights two particular trees, the first of them being “The Tree of Life.”
God said eating from this tree brings eternal life (Gen 3:22). Jesus says that He will grant overcomers to eat of this tree (Rev. 2:7), that its leaves heal the nations (Rev. 22:2), and that believers have the right to the Tree of Life (Rev. 22:14).
The other tree is the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” Though pleasing to their sight and good for food, “LORD God” singularly forbids Adam to eat from it (Gen 2:16–17), warning Adam that if he does he will surely die.
Genesis 3 is ground zero for our investigation into the necessity of Christmas. If you don’t understand this chapter you’ll never grasp the true reason for Jesus’ birth, and you’ll never understand the Bible. Genesis 3 reveals the root of every moral, physical, social and political catastrophe man has ever or will ever face.
Read Genesis 3:1 very carefully and consider what the serpent really says to Eve. This snake refers to “LORD God” only as “God.” Take note of the subtle way Eve is deceived. She takes Satan’s lead, and for the first time, doesn’t refer to “God” as “LORD God.”
Man’s problem resides in the fact that what people know about God they unwittingly or wittingly reject, even His name. Paul says that Eve’s mind was led astray (2 Cor. 11:3). She could have reminded the serpent of God’s sovereignty simply by enunciating the rest of His name, “LORD GOD.” As Greg Harris notes in The Cup and the Glory:
Deep treasures lay embedded in God’s Word, ready to be mined and assayed. The digging takes effort, but the benefits are life changing and eternal. And what we find may surprise us.
Satan’s goal is for you to doubt God’s Word—and herein lies the root of man’s problems: Satan wants you to challenge God’s authority–to stand up and take hold of your own free-will.
The serpent deviously misquotes God in Genesis 3:1. In Genesis 2:16 “LORD God” singularly commands Adam not to eat—the serpent appeals to Eve’s pride. From the serpent’s perspective Eve must admit that God only told Adam not to eat. Here is the subtlety of Satan’s deception: he insinuates that there is no indication from the text that “LORD God” told Eve NOT to eat.
The woman’s response in Genesis 3:2–3 demonstrates that Satan wants her to misinterpret God’s command. Eve leaves out the words “any” and “freely” from God’s original command (Gen. 2:16). Eve refers to “God” as the serpent did—NOT as “LORD God.”
“LORD” points to God’s sovereignty. Satan hates God’s Lordship; he never wants man to acknowledge God’s authority. Questioning God’s dominion leads Satan to attack Him with a boldfaced lie in Genesis 3:4 which is directly aimed at the authority of God’s Word.
God told Adam he’d die if he ate the fruit, and Eve knew that applied to her as well. Incidentally, “deceive” means “False hope.” Satan knew Eve had become susceptible so he continued his pursuit of her (Gen. 3:5).
Eve was exposed to both truth and deception (Gen. 3:5). A good fib always includes plausible reality laced with deceit. Satan tells her the truth–just not the whole truth. First, they wouldn’t die physically—that day. Second, they would become like God only in the sense that they would know both good and evil (Gen 3:22). Third, their eyes would be open to a kind of knowledge they’d never experienced (Gen 3:7).
Eve sees the tree is good for food and able to make her wise, so she and Adam eat. There you have it—Eve is deceived, she allows everything she knows about God’s sovereignty and His Word to slip right out of her mind. The Bible commands you to not be deceived! You mustn’t let this happen (Eph. 5:6).
Even if delayed, there are consequences for sin—she ate the fruit but didn’t immediately die.
Eve is referenced twice in the New Testament (1 Tim. 2:12–15, 3:15 and 2 Cor. 11:3). Both verses acknowledge that she was deceived disqualifying women from teaching and exercising authority over men in the church.
Our investigation into the necessity of Christmas leads us to consider Adam’s rebellion. Eve gives Adam the fruit—chomp, chomp, chomp, the deed is done (Gen. 3:6).
Paul says you and I were, in effect, there in the garden with Adam. Just as we’ve inherited his physical DNA, Adam also transmitted his fallen nature to us. Theologians call this “original sin.” You see, people are sinners by nature (Ro. 5:12), by choice (Ps. 14:1–3) and by God’s divine declaration (Jer. 17:9).
Just as Adam and Eve heard God speak, so do we through the pages of Scripture. The Bible is God’s gift to you and it alone is sufficient to solve every predicament you will ever face (Ro. 10:9–17; 2 Tim. 3:16–17).
Adam and Eve are guilty and so are you. The good news is that God has a plan (Gen. 3:14–15).
Our investigation reveals a promised resolution to our problem which brings us to our 2nd point.
Our Redemptive God (Galatians 4:4–5)
Throughout the Old Testament God promises to send a Savior to reverse Adam’s curse for all those who are believing in Him (Is. 9:6–7; John 3:15–16). In Galatians 4:4 we see the arrival of this child, this “Wonderful Counselor,” this “Mighty God,” this “Prince of Peace.”
This is the reason Baby Jesus, the rightful heir to King David’s throne, causes King Herod go berserk.
According to John 1 Jesus is God in the flesh. This, folks, is a “Merry Christmas.” This is when God sent His unique Son, born of a woman under God’s law.
Paul wants people to know that those embracing the Lordship of Jesus Christ are God’s sons (Gal. 4:5, c.f. Acts 2:36), with the implication that if you haven’t placed your life under God’s management you’re not God’s child (Eph. 2:2–3; Jn. 1:12).
When you are deceived and taken captive by the elementary principles of the world, do what Eve did—she admitted she was deceived–she confessed and it appears she repented. Eve mindlessly doubted the authority of God’s Word and embraced the hopeless “word-smithing” of a deceptive snake, thus allowing God’s truth to slip away from her mind.
Who is speaking into your life today? Whose words are you favoring above the authoritative Word of God? Are you buying into an empty message (Psalm 1)?
Here’s hope, right from the mind of “LORD God”: He’ll never deceive those who cry out to Him.
Take another look at Galatians 4:4–7. God planned for Christmas from the first days of human existence. From God’s perspective Jesus’ birth requires us to grasp the depth man’s falleness and the breadth of His forgiveness by doing God’s will. You see, He is not slow about His promises, but is patient toward you. He doesn’t want you to perish yourself. He wants you to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
You are the necessity of Christmas.
If you’ll simply embrace Christ as your Lord and Savior and repent of your sins then “LORD God” will receive you as His child with eternal forgiveness.
Now that is a Merry Christmas!
Also, check out[intlink id=”889″ type=”post”]White as Snow Christmas[/intlink] by Issa Haddad in Amman, Jordan.