Christmas Day

Psalms 2 & 45; Isaiah 9:2-7, 11:1-10; John 1:1-18

So Much Mystery in One so Small

Christmas day has finally arrived and with it the Christmas season.  Contrary to our worldly and commercial habit, you actually have twelve days to celebrate this blessed season (according to ancient Church custom) which should now be a joyous occasion as you have prepared for it all of Advent.

These passages of Scripture capture our Lord’s person in so many of his manifold appearances.  The psalms display him as the mighty king.  Psalm 2 shows the Lord of heaven laughing at the petty kings of the earth, who think that they may break from underneath His sovereign rule.  This Lord (the Father) then announces His decree: “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.”  This passage is then taken up by the New Testament authors as having direct bearing on Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of the Father – “begotten” referring to the Son being of the same nature with the Father (Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5; 5:5).  (After all, a father can only beget that which he is. God may create anything, but He can only beget God.)  Psalm 45 expresses in detail the beauty and majesty of the king on the day of his coronation.  Some believe the psalm refers to Solomon or some other king, and perhaps, historically, it does.  But the Church understands it as a Messianic psalm referring to Christ, with an added reference to his queen and bride – the Church – standing at his right hand, dressed in gold of Ophir.

Coming down a little from these kingly descriptions are Isaiah’s passages which speak of our Lord’s righteousness.  Isaiah 11 describes how the spirit (which we here understand as the Holy Spirit, John 3:34) equips him with wisdom and understanding, counsel and strength, knowledge and delight in the fear of the Lord.  He is one who shall deliver the oppressed and strike the oppressor.  Isaiah 9 adds to these virtues the following names: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Well of course!  If he is to reign, which these passages from Isaiah and the psalms make clear, he must have the qualities that he may reign in righteousness and peace, first over our hearts presently, and then in his visible kingdom to come.  And as a result of his first coming, those “who walked in darkness have seen a great light,” and the Church of Jesus Christ has been filled with fruit (Matthew 4:16).  We still await the wonderful kingdom described in Isaiah 11, but the believer knows it must be true.

Finally (this devotion is running long), we have the most majestic passage in all of Scripture, filled with the most wonder and awe: John 1:1-18.  The narrative passages we read (“narrative” is the fancy word scholars give to those passages which tell a story; it makes them feel smart) speak of our Lord’s birth; that is, they tell the story, how it happened and what happened.  John 1 goes beyond, or better yet before, those stories to the beginning.  And by the word, “beginning,” John does not mean, in the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth.  No.  John goes even before then.  John means from the beginning that never had a beginning, for there never was a time when God was not.  Sound confusing?  That’s because human language breaks down here.  John is talking about what we might call, “eternity ago.”  We understand the words and even the concept, but we really can’t picture it.

But I digress.  Let us move from philosophical inquiry to our Lord as that is whom the passage is speaking of.  The passage calls him, “the Word.”  The English translation is precisely as the Greek has it: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  No plainer statement could be made about both the divinity of the Word (“the Word was God”), and its distinction from God (“the Word was with God”).  So we have someone or thing that was both God and with God “in the beginning.”  Well who was that?  John 1:14 answers that question in a resounding way: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  It was this Word, this Son, this One who became flesh, through whom the world was made, but whom the world did not know, who came to his own people, but whom his people did not receive.  But to those who did receive him, he gave the right to be called “children of God.”  That was his mission: to seek and to save the lost, that those who might believe on him would be born again from above, not of the flesh or will of man, but of the will of God.  I said it once before, but I’ll say it again, and it comes from the ancient Church (St. Athanasius taught it to us): The Son of God became a son of man, that sons of men might become sons of God (and yes, we mean daughters, too).

So the Word through whom we were made came to redeem us.  And even more, the Word came to make the Father known (1:18).  He can do this because he is of the Father.  And he can do this because he is “the Word.”  The Son, Jesus Christ, is the Father’s definitive word to the world.  That does not mean that God has stopped speaking, but  it does mean that anything else he might say, in fact that He has ever said, has and ever will come through this Word, Jesus Christ, and can never be in contradiction to that word now revealed in Scripture (Hebrews 1:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19; Psalm 119).

So here we have a mighty King, a righteous Judge and Teacher, and the Word made flesh who gave himself for us; in other words, Prophet, Priest, and King.  So much mystery wrapped in one tiny baby.  Time for worship.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

2 thoughts on “Christmas Day”

  1. Thank you, Stephen, for your wisdom in your devotions. I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas. Your daily devotions are a gift I enjoy every day.
    Kathy

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