By Not Known
The coming of Jesus at Christmas was a giant leap forward in God’s plans.
Christmas was a big fulfilment of Old Testament promises. Here was the
descendant of Eve who would crush the serpent’s head (Gen 3: 15). ‘Immanuel’ was
here, representing the presence of God with his people (Isa 7:14). The son was
born, on whose shoulders government would rest and who would reign on David’s
throne (Isa 9:6-7). And Bethlehem finally gave rise to the ruler who would
shepherd his flock and whose greatness would reach to the ends of the earth and
bring peace (Mic 5:2-5).
Matthew and Luke make much of how Christmas fulfils Old Testament promises and
hopes. Matthew does it by explicit references to prophecies being fulfilled in the
birth details – for example: 1:22; 2:5; 3:17. Luke emphasises Jesus’ background in
the songs of May and Zechariah which are rich in Old Testament themes (1:46-55;
However, Christmas is not the fulfilment of all God’s plans. The ‘single day’ when
God would remove the sin of the land was still coming (Zech 3:9). Likewise for that
day when God’s people would look on the one they had pierced with mourning and
grief (Zech 12:10) – remember the nails?
Seen this way, Christmas was part of the road to Easter and the even bigger leap
forward in God’s plans that happened there.
But the story is not over even with Easter. Easter is the hinge on which histoy
turns but is not its end. Thus Zechariah speaks of that day when God will come and
reign as the only Lord and name – a day of utter holiness (Zech 14:1,9,20-21). This
is the closing note of the whole Bible (Rev 21-22) and was a topic often on Jesus’
lips – for example, see Luke 21-22, our Bible in 13 reading for today.
Christmas remains unfinished business until Christ returns the then-finished
kingdom to the father so that God may be all in all (1 Cor 15:24-28).
Where does that leave us? We are in the time when the kingdom is ‘near’ (Mat
4: 17). This is the time for us to welcome Jesus as God’s king and entrust him with
our lives. It is also a time to be busy about God’s kingdom business as we wait for
the Bible’s last prayer to be answered – ‘Amen, come Lord Jesus’.