In the early 1800s, an adventurous trapper decided to see for himself what America’s western frontier looked like. Day and night he rode, seeing new sites daily, always trekking westward. Finally he came upon the Grand Canyon, which of course he knew nothing about. As he sat atop his horse looking out over that awesome expanse, all he could say was, “Something musta happened here!”
Something must of happened in the little town of Bethlehem one night. That something was enough to serve as the spark of a religious movement that continues today, almost 2,000 years later. The something didn’t create a gaping hole in the ground, but it certainly did create a gaping hole in the religions of the world. Frankly, none of them have been the same since, and some of them got pushed out of existence altogether.
Like that trapper’s take on the Grand Canyon, though, many people still don’t know what happened in Bethlehem. According to one website I read, over 2 billion people around the world have never heard the story of Jesus. Another website places the number at over 3 billion. Even in countries that have been saturated with the gospel, new babies are being born each day, babies that will grow up and need to hear the gospel. You see, fulfilling Jesus’ Great Commission to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15, N.K.J.V.) is an ongoing assignment that constantly perpetuates itself.
Yes, something did happen in Bethlehem. A baby was born there, a baby that was different from all other babies ever born. This child was conceived in the womb of a virgin. He was the eternal God the Son come down from heaven to take upon Himself a human body and live among His created race of people. He would live 33-and-a-half years upon the earth and never commit even one sin. He would perform miracles that proved His divinity. He would heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead.
But the miracles weren’t why He came. His real purpose in coming was to die as the substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of the human race. After that, He Himself would resurrect from the dead and return to heaven to sit again upon His throne and offer salvation to anyone and everyone who will voluntarily believe in Him as Savior (John 3:16).
This Christmas, anytime you see a manger scene, think upon these things. Christmas is about so much more than a baby. Jesus the baby was merely the human beginning of Jesus the Savior.
You say, “I know that, Russell.” Great, then share it with someone who doesn’t know it. Even if that person has heard bits and pieces of Christ’s story, perhaps they’ve never heard a simple, clear presentation of the whole story (i.e., Christ’s virgin birth, His sinless life, His miracles that proved His divinity, His substitutionary death, His resurrection, His ascension, and His promise to return to the earth one day). If they haven’t heard all that presented in a way they can grasp, then the best gift you can give them this Christmas is the gift of telling it to them. Perhaps they will believe in Jesus as Savior. Perhaps they won’t. But what they’ll never be able to do again is plead ignorance to knowing what happened.