Christ is Born! Glorify Him.
With this traditional greeting we Orthodox Christians mark the beginning of the Feast of the Nativity of the Theanthropos (The God-Man) Jesus Christ. God takes His flesh from one of us in the person of the Theotokos, the Virgin Mary, and comes among us as the One promised by the Prophets in the First Testament. And He comes fulfilling the scriptures that He would be “Emmanuel,” God with us!
Look at our lesson today in Galatians 4:4-7:
BRETHREN, when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then also an heir of God through Christ.
The timing of the Birth of Jesus Christ was, for lack of a better term, perfect. And the reason it was perfect was because of the confluence of history made the spread of the message of Christ possible to not only the known world but to the formation of whole nations by the power of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Notice how the Apostle Paul puts this; “when the time had fully come…” St. Paul draws our attention to the reality that God knows when the Son should be born into the world. God’s view of time from Eternity allows Him the foreknowledge to the timing of the Birth of Christ when humanity would benefit from His coming the most. What the Birth of Jesus sets in motion from that ancient place in Bethlehem will affect the whole of human history from that moment to this very day.
Jesus is born in Bethlehem as the Prophets foretold. He is born to a Virgin mother and from the tribes of Abraham, fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham and all his descendents.
He is born at a time when the Roman Empire rules civilization and the Romans have built an extensive road system that connects their vast Empire and allows their armies to govern that Empire. It is called the Pax Romana and travel is relatively safe because of this. This vast transportation system will allow the message of Jesus to spread like fire across the Roman world before the collapse of the Western empire plunges much of early Europe into chaos.
Jesus comes at a time when the philosophy and the language of commerce and education is still the common Greek of Jesus’ day. The hellenized Roman Empire even has a Greek translation of the First Testament in the Septuagint that allows for the common preaching of the Gospel and an intersection of worldly philosophy with the message of Jesus that transforms philosophy forever as the early Christian theologians take the Hellenized philosophy of the world and transform it to serve as the foundation of society in a Christian Empire. This Jewish Messiah saves the Gentile world!
Jesus comes at the perfect time in human history to draw humanity away from the darkness of sin and toward the light of the Kingdom of God. This perfect storm of timing – A Roman Peace, A Greek philosophy, and a Semitic Faith – produce for you and me a synthesis of communication of One Eternal Truth – God the Father is Good and He loves Mankind and He has sent His Son to set us Free!
For God so loved the world that He gave us His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. The Birth of Jesus at this perfect time in human history makes human peace and joy not just possible but wrapped in a Christmas bow and gifted to us all!
Today, as we unwrap our Christmas gifts, please don’t neglect the Greatest Gift of all – the serious and maturing and life changing Gift of the Theanthropos – The God – Man, Jesus Christ. Through Him you can now call God truly “Father” the Father WHo loves you so much He changed the world so that you can be free. Merry Christmas, my precious and dear ones.