As we leave the Christmas season it behooves us to carry the facts of Christmas with us throughout the coming year. We live in a time when we are bombarded by a culture that attempts to deny the facts of Christmas in exchange for a general feeling of goodwill and a time of giving. It is good for people to stir up good dispositions toward others and be generous, but Christmas and Christianity are primarily concerned with a person; the Lord Jesus Christ.

The heart of anyone’s faith, the reality, and the sincerity of it has to do with their relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not sufficient to say we believe in Christ, but what it is we believe about Christ; who is he, and what has he done? We must be clear about these truths, these facts concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.

Peter in his second epistle was writing as an old man. His time on earth was drawing to an end. He was concerned to remind Christians of certain facts the Christian faith rests upon. One was that the apostles did not make up stories about Christ, but they were eyewitnesses of his glory.  We will return to this later. The other was that the truth of Christ is made certain in the prophetic word.

In other words, Peter is reminding Christians that the Old Testament Scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit and the prophets wrote things about Christ long before he came into the world, and these things have plainly been fulfilled in Christ’s coming. This truth is repeatedly given to Christians for their comfort and steadfastness in the faith.

In our passage we see several examples of this. Joseph and Mary must go to Bethlehem to register in accordance with Caesar’s decree. It is here the child Jesus was born. The prophet Micah wrote that the Messiah who was to come would be born in Bethlehem. We also see that Jesus was of the “house and lineage of David (verse 4).” In 2nd Samuel chapter 7 we read that God promises David one of his descendants will reign over God’s people forever.  This is fulfilled in Christ.

In verses 11-12 we read the angel’s words to the shepherds: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Many years earlier the prophet Isaiah wrote: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).” Immanuel means “God with us.”

We could list many, many examples of explicit prophecies of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. In fact all the Old Testament is fulfilled in Christ. Peter’s point to Christians is that seeing Christ in the Scriptures bolsters your faith. These are facts, truths to anchor your soul to. He is the lamp shining in a dark place. God’s hand is plainly on the Scriptures and history of Jesus.

The other point Peter had made was that the apostles were eyewitnesses of Christ’s glory. What happened in Bethlehem was the eternal, glorious Son of God took to himself human nature. He did not simply appear as a human, but took human nature permanently. This is a great deep, but we cannot understand the love of God apart from this.

God does not only tell us of his love, but the evidence of it is here; the eternal Son coming in the flesh for the great reason to restore man to fellowship with the living God. In Hebrews 2:9 we read that the primary reason the eternal, glorious Son of God was for a little while made lower than the angels, was that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

The Lord Jesus Christ came into the world for the purpose of dying. This is the message of Christmas, not just a little good cheer or warm feelings. Rather, the way out of the punishment of death was provided in Christ. He tasted death so we might live. He came from heaven to earth to die for sinners who were without hope and without God.

If you can escape death and God’s judgment on your own, then you can think of Christmas however it pleases you; but for those who fear God and death, Christmas points to a Savior, one who came to make me right with God, and to give the gift of eternal life and fellowship with God by way of his own suffering and sacrifice. Christmas is about Christ; who he is and what he came to do.