Water from the Well: December 20, 1995

Several months ago my wife received a letter from a friend, a pastor's wife in Michigan. She wrote about several details of her life and then announced, by the way, that she was going to have a baby. That's just the kind of person she is--she doesn't make a big deal out of anything.

In the Bible God announces a birth which is more important than any other birth in history, the birth of his own Son Jesus. Jesus' birth was so important that God announced it almost 800 years in advance, through the prophet Isaiah: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14).

Who could be so important? Why was this one baby so important out of the billions born in human history? God made it clear that this child would be different from all others. This child wouldn't have a human father, but only a human mother. "The virgin will be with child"--an angel announced to Mary's worried fiance Joseph that "what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit." Mary's baby wasn't a product of human sin, but was the result of God's grace.

As the son of Mary, Jesus was a human being. As the son of God, Jesus was God. "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel" That name "Immanuel" means "God with us." No child ever born before or since Jesus has been "God with us." Jesus was absolutely unique in all history. As we sing in the familiar Christmas carol, Jesus was "God in man made manifest." He was God's own Son who became human, who became "God with us," to bring us God's own Christmas gift: forgiveness of our sins.

As a human being, Jesus was like us. As true God, Jesus was holy and sinless. Jesus was born in Bethlehem almost 2,000 years ago for a specific purpose--to live a sinless and holy life in our place, and to give up his perfect life in our place, to pay for our sins. Because of our sins we could never be anything but enemies of God who deserve God's punishment. Because of our sins we could never have peace with God. To bring us peace, Jesus came to this earth. To make us his own children, God sent his own Son to earn forgiveness of our sins. Because of Jesus' sinless life, sacrificial death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead, we know for certain that our sins truly are forgiven. We know that we have peace with God, and we look forward to sharing that heavenly peace forever.

Jesus was such an important baby because his birth brought us peace--not simply the quiet peace of a snowy Christmas Eve, but the true spiritual peace which comes to a soul at peace with God. May God's peace fill your life through Jesus this Christmas season and every season of the year.