This morning we looked at Isaiah 9:6-7 and saw how this prophecy of a ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ who will reign on David’s throne forever was fulfilled in Jesus. Christmas is a time when the light dawns on those living in the land of deep darkness (see Isaiah 9:2, John 1:5); it’s a time when we see God working miraculously in many ways, but we also see that there is much that is also strangely mundane about the Christmas story.
A miracle was needed to save the world, because sin has separated mankind from God and there is no one righteous, not even one. (Rom 3:10-11) Only a sinless human could bridge the gap between humanity and God, but because of sin, no human is capable of doing this. God, therefore, sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law. (Gal 4:4) The first miracle we see is the fact that the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son who will be called ‘Immanuel’, ‘God with us.’ (Is 7:14, Luke 1:31) That just doesn’t happen naturally!
Jesus is both fully human and fully God, a miracle we celebrate each year at Christmas. There are other miracles in this story: angelic messages and a star to guide the wise men from the east being the most notable ones. But there is also much that is mundane in the story: Zechariah’s months of being unable to speak (Luke 1:5-24), the inconvenience of a trip to Bethlehem because of a Roman census (Luke 2:1-3), the fact that there was no room for Mary and Joseph at any guest house and so the birth of Jesus took place in a stable (Luke 2:1-7). We might have expected the birth of God’s King to be at a palace amid great fanfare, but despite the miracles of Christmas, there is a sense of ordinariness which is shocking. This reminds us that Jesus had to learn and suffer, just as we do (see Hebrews 2:17-18, Phil 2:6-7). He is our great high priest precisely because He has shared in our humanity and knows what we go through. We have so much to celebrate because of Christmas!