Mary and Joseph’s troubles had only begun. The joy of a newborn is magnified when one (Mary) learns from the Lord’s angel (Gabriel) that the child she would carry would be the Lord’s anointed. In accordance with Jewish law/tradition, Mary and Joseph circumcise their Son on day eight after his birth. Rather ordinary; the ordinary then turns to marvel when a very old man, Simeon, speaks praise to the Lord and then speaks plainly to both (Mary especially) that their newborn child will bring much joy and anguish to the nation of Israel. In fact, the message and life of the child (then adult) will pierce the heart of his mother (Luke 2:25-35).
This is the part of the “Christmas” story that is often forgotten. So often it is that we hear the joy of the message that God’s Son was brought into the world with that joy expressed in gifts given. But in this joyous occasion it is the forgotten message that He is God’s gift to man. Why would God give a gift to humanity?
The experience of Mary and Joseph illustrate why God gave His unique (one of a kind) Son to man. They learned from the Lord that Herod, a raging and jealous king, was seeking to destroy the child recently born. This insecure man was a servant of Satan. “Now the dragon’s tail swept away a third of the stars in heaven and hurled them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. So the woman gave birth to a son, a male child, who is going to rule over all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was suddenly caught up to God and to his throne, and she fled into the wilderness where a place had been prepared for her by God, so she could be taken care of for 1,260 days” (Revelation 12:4-6, NET).
God’s gift to man is not understood; what is learned is rejected exactly because of the efforts of the “dragon” one reads in Revelation. He is the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), and he seeks to destroy as many as he can.
Though Christmas is not a Bible holiday, it is a time when the Lord’s saints can do much good in helping others learn the true significance of why Jesus came into this world. Whatever gifts are given, it is God’s gift that is truly the most important.