Bringing Baby Jesus Home Week #1

The Advent weeks are clicking along and I have to admit that I’m loving every Christmas light, song and ugly sweater I encounter. Christmas is my favorite time of year and I’m excited about some fresh perspectives that God is bringing to the forefront of my mind and heart during this season.

Thank you for taking this journey with me and I pray God speaks to each of us in a new and fresh way as we celebrate His Son coming to earth –  let’s get started!

My favorite part of a musical is the Overture – it’s like a sneak-peek for the audience.  The orchestra plays a continuous song made up of small melodic sections from the songs that will ultimately be heard during the production. Unless you’ve seen the musical before, these melodies will seem new.  But the Overture has done its job by introducing you to the songs so when you hear the performers sing them you can enjoy it even more!

If I’m familiar with the musical I listen to the overture and sing along as each song is quickly introduced and then passed over. I smile as I remember the character and plot action that will occur during that particular song – it’s a wonderful time off anticipation.

Well, God has done an even better job of writing an Overture that is so very important to consider when preparing for and anticipating the Christmas season.

I love being a student – I would go back to school right now if I could – but the “school” I’m currently attending is one of being a mom, wife and writer. So in my pursuit to know as much as I can about Christmas I started doing some research concerning how we really know Jesus was the true Christ of Christmas. I hope you enjoy this time of discovery as much as I have enjoyed preparing it.

Let’s use the minds God gave us and continue to learn more about the one person that loves us more than anyone else – our Creator, God. Thinking caps on?  Good – this is gonna be fun!

The Virgin Birth

The first book of the Bible, Genesis, tells us that God had a plan from the beginning. In the 3rd chapter of Genesis we find Eve believing Satan’s lies and she eats from the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” in the garden. Like all good parents, there are consequences for disobeying.  God spoke directly to the serpent (Satan), to Adam and to Eve.

To Adam He basically says that Adam will have to work the ground of the earth to produce food, that the sweat of his brow will be required and God will no longer meet their physical needs for them. He also tells Adam that he will die and return to dust (vs 17-19).

To Eve He says she will endure painful childbirth, that she will desire her husband alone and he will rule over her (vs. 16)

And to Satan He predict and prophecies about Jesus coming. Genesis 3:14-15 God says to the serpent: “Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush  your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Three things to notice here:

1. The word enmity means “a deep-seated, often mutual hatred”. I don’t know about you but I hate snakes and even more than that I hate Satan and what he tries to tempt my children and other people’s children to do.

2. God references “her offspring” when usually a child comes from a man and a woman.  The King James Version says “her seed” and many of the commentaries I studied believe strongly that this is the first reference to a virgin birth – a woman who will give birth without losing her virginity.

3.  The pronoun “he” refers to this being a single man who will “crush [Satan’s] head and that Satan will strike his [Christ’s] heel”.  When Christ was crucified Satan struck at His “heal” but He DID NOT WIN (can I get an amen!?). We know the end of the story and when Christ returns He will indeed crush Satan and all of his descendants.

Still with me?

Good, because it only gets better…

Fast forward beyond Noah, Moses, David and we arrive at Isaiah and Micah.

Quick synopsis of what’s going on in the lives off the Jews during this time:  These events are happening between 710-680 BC, the Jews have been released from Babylon by Cyrus the Great and told to go back to Israel.  Two enemies and larger powers surround Israel. To the North is Assyria and to the south is Egypt. These two countries are desperate to rule Israel or at least set up a strong presence there so they can be closer to and more powerful than the other.

Throughout the Old Testament God has to communicate with His chosen people through prophets. These are people whose faith was in God alone. They observed Jewish traditions according to the instructions given to them from God and they refused to be swayed by fast-talking, profit-promising rulers of that time.  Sometimes prophets brought direct messages from God and sometimes they shared prophecy from Him. The important thing to remember is that these prophets did not claim to know these things through their own education or strength.  Some of them even tried to run from their calling – they didn’t want to be the one delivering the news God had shared (read Jonah chapter 1 and 2).

It wasn’t a fun job, but someone had to share God’s commands, truths, warnings and promises with the Israelites – God’s children.

Isaiah was a prophet that warned the Jewish people against believing that their current ruler, Uriah, would provide more for them than God could. He prophesied that those rulers would be brought down and their false religion and idols would fall.  God sent word though Isaiah that a Messiah, a Savior, that would truly provide for the people was going to come.

God didn’t say he might come. He gave very specific ways of how, when, where and why Jesus would be born.

Isaiah 7:14 says: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel”.

Immanuel means, “God with us”, and I think it is absolutely amazing that 700 years before Jesus was born God was letting us in on the plan he had for saving the world and exactly how it would happen – through a virgin birth.

Born In Bethlehem

The prophet Micah was also warning the jews about following the latest and greatest regime to promise an easy and profitable life. He was trying to help them remember who they were as God’s children and the judgements that would come on anyone that didn’t follow the one true God.

Micah 5:2-5 wrote that a ruler would come from Bethlehem. God said through Micah: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD,  in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be our peace.

WOW! God named the town and said that this ruler shepherd his flock. John 10:11 Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep”. Jesus brought peace to those who recognized Him as the Messiah and He was born in the town that God had chosen so there would be no question about who Christ was or why He had come.

The Messiah Would Come Through The Tribe of Judah

Back to the beginning of the Bible (around 1400 BC) in the book of Genesis we meet Jacob and his twelve sons. Jacob’s son, Judah, was blessed with this prophecy:  “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.'(Genesis 49:10).

Jesus’ ancestry is directly traced back to Jacob’s son, Judah, in the book of Luke (chapter 3).  The King James version uses the word “Shiloh” instead of the pronoun “he” within the last sentence of this verse. “Until Shiloh comes and to Him shall bethe obedience of the people.” Easton’s Bible Dictionary provides these definitions for the word Shiloh: “generally understood as denoting the Messiah, “the peaceful one,” The Vulgate Version translates the word, “he who is to be sent” in allusion to the Messiah.” (Easton, M. G. “Shiloh”, Easton’s Bible Dictionary. Blue Letter Bible. 1897. 24 June, 1996 13 Dec 2011. pe=GetTopic&Topic=Shiloh&DictList=2#Easton’s)

The Messiah Would Be A Descendant of King David

It’s not the most invigorating reading but if we look at the books of Matthew and Luke we can see Jesus’ “family tree”. His genealogy is clearly traced back to David and this is important because along with Isaiah and Micah the prophet Jeremiah had something to say about the coming Messiah.  In Jeremiah 23:5 he writes: ” Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.”.

In verse 6 Jeremiah goes on to share God’s words with the people when he writes: “In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called:  THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

After reading a ton of articles, listening to people much more intelligent than me debate and praying I’ve come to a conclusion: no matter how clear God made things, how specific He was about who Jesus was, what He would do and how He would come – people would still doubt.  Only through a relationship with Christ and the clarity that the Holy Spirit brings will we be able to see the truth.

I think it’s okay to disagree and debate – but one thing is clear – God isn’t incidental, He’s intentional! His desire to love us, have a relationship with us and allow us to discover Him is what drives everything He does. We might not understand all that happens but I hope through our time in scripture today we have a new appreciation for the details and dedication God displayed when providing a Messiah that would save us from ourselves and our sin.

Now go drink some coffee and enjoy a very simple conversation with your child – we’ve stretched our brains enough today!

You are wonderful!


1 Response to “Bringing Baby Jesus Home Week #1”

  1. 1 Andrew Kneisler December 13, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    Here’s an AMEN for ya!

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