Week 2 of Advent: Hope
Where do babies come from?
Christmas is a celebration about the hope we have because of the birth of one baby. A Dallas Newspaper printed the following responses of children who answered the question, “Where do babies come from?”
- Linda Staley (age 5); “Mommies go and buy them at stores. Girls cost $5 and boys cost 50 cents.”
- Michael Sale (age 5); “I’m not sure, but I know moms have to get them. If you’re kind of handsome, it means you’re a boy; if you’re wearing lipstick, you’re a girl.”
- Alicia Crew (age 5); “From fairy godmothers. They make them out of yarn and crayons.”
- Kelly Sweat (age 6); “They come from the frozen food section in the supermarkets, just like TV dinners. All the mommies have to do is warm them up.”
- David Joyner (age 6); “My mommy told me that storks bring them, but I know that isn’t true, because we have lots of babies around here and no storks. I think they come by UPS.”
A unique birth of a very unique baby is our hope
On a night long ago a baby entered the world that was like no other baby before then or since then. Jesus didn’t come from the store. He didn’t cost 50 cents (although we often treat Him like that’s all He’s worth). Jesus wasn’t kind of handsome. In fact, Isaiah 53:2 says, “For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.”
He was just your average looking man of Jewish descent. There was no fairy godmother that made Him out of yarn and crayons. Like every other infant born into the world, He was knitted together in His mother’s womb. Instead of yarn and crayons, it was atoms, cells, and DNA that was woven and knitted together. There was no frozen food section in the market place so that rules out that option. Wise young David already ruled out the stork theory. And not even the Pony Express had been created yet so he didn’t come that way or by UPS.
So what makes His birth different from all the other births throughout history? I mean, after all, babies are born every day. About the only time you hear about a baby being born in the news these days is when there are 4 or more born at once to the same mother. Or maybe the news will print a story about the first baby born in a new year. Or when there is a tragic story such as a baby birthed and abandoned in a gas station restroom. Jesus’ birth is different because it was unique and because his birth is our hope for redemption and restoration.
A birth announcement from angels
The baby born that night in Bethlehem didn’t get a news crew – he had a heavenly host of angels to tell the good news to everyone – and they started with some shepherds. The angels didn’t go to the rich and famous with their message of hope. They appeared to the poor and lowly people who were generally seen as “unclean” because they cared for dirty animals. Their news was the news the Jewish people had been waiting for since the first sin in the Garden of Eden. It was joyful news. It was news they just had to go and see for themselves. So they immediately left the sheep and went with haste to see the baby and found Him just as the angel had told them. After the shepherds saw the baby, they told everyone they saw. Can you hear them? Can you hear the excitement in their voices?
“Hey! Did you hear the news?”
“No. What news?”
“A Baby has been born!”
“Oh ok. Why is that news? What’s so special about another baby?”
“This is the hope we’ve been waiting for! He’s Immanuel! The Messiah!”
Matthew 1:22-23 puts it this way:
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
Five reasons the birth of this baby is a big deal and cause for hope
In these two verses of Matthew (as well as prophetic verses from Isaiah and from Luke’s account in Luke 1-2, we can find five reasons that the birth of this baby is such as big deal that we still celebrate it more than 2000 years later: 1) the baby had a unique conception. 2) He had a divine origin. 3) The heavenly host of angles couldn’t contain their joy and bust into singing 4) His names show us His character while also revealing His deity. 5) He had a purpose for coming to earth .
Reason #1: There is hope in His unique conception
The birth of Jesus was a big deal because this baby wasn’t conceived in the normal way. And there wasn’t IVF back then either. This baby was born from a young girl who was still a virgin. Every other human being that has been born had both a mom and dad who contributed to their DNA. But Mary was a virgin when the child was conceived and she was still a virgin up to the time of Jesus’ birth. Matthew 1:25 says, “and [Joseph] did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.”
Jesus’ conception was one of a kind and will never be duplicated again – He was conceived by the Holy Spirit of God. Listen to what the angel told Joseph in a dream: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:20).
When the angel visited Mary and told her she would have a son, she understood the way sons are made and she knew that she had never been with a man. So she asked, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34). The angel replied,”The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you;”
Yes, a young virgin girl who was highly favored was chosen to mother God in the flesh. That’s big news because this baby is both 100% human and 100% God! Because He is God in the flesh, He is our hope. But that’s not all….
Reason #2: There is hope in His divine origin
Not only was His conception newsworthy, but so was His origin. This baby who born in Bethlehem to a poor, young virgin and laid in a manger had royal, Kingly blood. He’s the King of kings who was also the Architect of the entire universe.
He fashioned the sun, heated it to 35,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit and hung it in the exact spot it needed to be so that there could be life on earth. A little bit closer and we’d all burn up. A little further away and we’d all freeze to death.
Then He molded a cold, shining ball that is 2160 miles in diameter and gave it a substance that would reflect the light of the sun in such a way that it would give a soft light in the night hours. Next, He made the stars and He must have really liked the stars because there are 100 billion of them just in the Milky Way.
Then there is Earth. It only has six sextillion, 588 quintillion short-tons of elements that with just a spoken word they all came to be, joined together, and Earth was created. Then He created boundaries for the sea and told them they could only go that far – and dry land appeared. He added some trees, flowers, fruits, vegetables – all getting ready for Earth to sustain life. He added fish to the sea and birds to the sky. Then came animals of all kinds and finally, His greatest creation – Adam.
This same Almighty Creator that spoke our entire world into being compressed Himself down to a single divine and holy cell and fused that cell with the ovum of a Jewish teenager. That cell divided and then divided again – and again – and again. Over and over as the tiny baby grew inside the womb of Mary. Then, “the days were accomplished that she should be delivered” and as the Holy, righteous Son of God entered our world as a tiny baby, thousands of joyful angels burst into singing – they simply couldn’t contain themselves.
Reason #3: The angels were so full of joy, they couldn’t contain themselves
Had Jesus been born in our world today, the angels probably would not have only sang at his birth, but they would have posted a picture of the proud mother and her precious bundle of joy all over social media and with that many angels, social media would have frozen. The news would probably pick it up, but while they might ask, “Who’s this baby?” the story angle would be about how his picture broke social media – not about the significance of His birth and certainly not that this child’s origin is one that is divine and holy – straight from Heaven itself. That is big news too – but wait – there’s more!
Reason #4: His names show His character and His deity
Have you ever noticed how baby’s born to royalty have a whole string of names? Jesus did too. When the prophet Isaiah foretold about this baby, he said, “his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) Well that wasn’t enough so Isaiah also said his name would be Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).
Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
These names signified His character. The child would have extraordinary wisdom (Wonderful Counselor). He would have life that never ends (Everlasting Father). He will bring peace (Prince of Peace). But the two most significant names are Mighty God and Immanuel. As “Mighty God,” Jesus was not only 100% human, but He is also 100% God.
The word translated mighty is Gibbor, which means “strength, power, hero.” The Mighty God has the strength to hold together every atom of the universe, endure the tortures of the cross, and still have enough strength for us to cast all our cares upon Him. He has the power to create the world from nothing with just a spoken word, turn water to wine, heal the sick, cast out demons, walk on water, feed 5000+ with just two fish and five small loaves of bread, and countless other miracles. And to every person who comes by faith believing in Him for the salvation of their souls and forgiveness of their sins – He is our hero.
Then there is this name Immanuel. Matthew tells us what is significant about this name. The meaning of the name is “God with us.” The Almighty God came to earth to live among His people. When the angel spoke to Mary, he said, “therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” His origin is from the throne of Heaven and He came to earth be laid in an animal’s feeding trough and slept on some prickly hay because the world had no room in the inn for Him. Surely that is newsworthy! But yes – there is still more.
Reason 5: His Purpose for coming to earth is our hope
Thankfully, for kindergarten aged Jesus he didn’t have to write all those names on His papers in school. The angel that spoke to Joseph said, “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, which means “Yahweh saves.” So not only is the name Jesus much easier to spell, but it tells us what this baby’s purpose is: “for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21). It’s the whole reason He came. It’s His purpose.
He was born so He could die and that through His death He would save us from our sins. For Jesus to leave Heaven to be born as a baby and live among us and dying for us held no benefit to Jesus whatsoever. It was all sacrifice for Him. Yet He did it – for you and for me. Had He chose not to come, we’d have no hope. His coming was for our benefit.
Our sin separates us from a holy righteous God and the wages that we earn for our sin is eternal death in Hell. But God, because of His love and mercy provided a way for us to be redeemed and that way was to send His only Son to pay the price for us and through His death, we could have eternal life. So the purpose of His birth was to give hope to all mankind and it’s been giving hope for more than 2000 years so that we still celebrate the birth of this baby, Immanuel, God With Us. That not just news – it’s GOOD NEWS and tidings of joy for all people. It’s our hope for redemption and restoration.
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