What is the miracle of Christmas?
“But [Joseph] kept her [Mary] a virgin until she gave birth to a Son, and he called his name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:25)
The Birth of Jesus
The actual birthday of Jesus was sometime in the fall (September or October) rather than December. The date is of lesser consequence, however than the “reason” for the celebration (Isaiah 1:18). Heaven itself celebrated the birth (Luke 2:8-14). And after the shepherds got over their fear, they couldn’t stop telling the news.
Then there were the wise men from the east who came to worship the one “born king of the Jews.” (Matthew 2:1 -2) They got there well after the birth, having put their lives on hold, and willingly gave of their time and treasures to honor this great King while they rejoiced with “exceeding great joy.” (Matthew 2:10) Surely all Christians should worship and rejoice as well as giving generously of our treasures when we celebrate Christ’s birth (the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is one such example).
The Real Miracle
But if we just focus on the “birth,” we may miss the greatest reason for the commemoration. After all, there was nothing uncommon about the physical process. But the “conception,” now that was miraculous! (Luke 1:35) The eternal “Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) The great Creator and Son of God, “foreknown before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20), submitted to the will of the Father and “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7) That was why heaven celebrated.
Counting back about nine months from around September puts us pretty close to the end of the previous December. Perhaps our sovereign God has orchestrated events so that we would celebrate the real miracle of conception: “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)