The prophets of Christmas
STREETLIFE - Nigel Paul Villarete (The Freeman) - November 27, 2018 - 12:00am

Christmas is a celebration of an event which happened about 2,000 years ago. We don’t know much of those times, except what the Bible, archaeologist and historians tell us.  There were only a few people who knew the details of the birth of Jesus – his parents and relatives, the shepherds in the field, some people at the temple, and a few others.  Not any of the apostles and the Lord’s later disciples was there.

Yet, around 700 years before his birth, two prophets foretold of his coming.  The prophet Isaiah declared, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).  It was at a time when Israel was divided into two kingdoms fighting each other, with the northern one under attack by the Assyrian empire.  And it was the time when Jacob’s descendants, the 12 tribes of Israel rebelled and fell away from following God.  Amidst the rebellion, idolatry, and sinfulness, God gave the promise of the birth of the Messiah, the savior.

The other prophet, Micah, not only foretold his birth, but even the place where this will take place.  In Micah 5:2, he said, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you one will go forth for me to be ruler of Israel.  His goings forth are from long ago, From days of eternity.”  What’s amazing is the 700 years between the declaration and the actual event.  It’s like saying today that someone will be born in year 2700s, or that someone in the 13th century predicted that you will be born today.  It’s simply unbelievable!  And yet Isaiah and Micah spoke of Christ’s birth with the confidence that can only be due to having been moved by the Spirit of God himself.

Prophets speak on someone else’s behalf delivering messages to people.  There are true prophets of God as there are false ones from the devil.  But the Scriptures tell us that prophecies are not always received in the right way, and, often, disregarded, ridiculed or forgotten.  When Jesus was born, there were no welcoming committees nor a grand celebration.  He was laid in an animals’ feeding trough, with only shepherds as first visitors.  It’s almost two years later when the more learned wise men finally found, visited and worshipped him.

Today, it’s a grand celebration, around world, including non-Christian places.  But Isaiah and Micah’s messages remain true, today, as is all of Scriptures. The prophets did not proclaim parties or bonuses, manita-manito’s or exchanging gifts, Christmas trees and its trimmings or Santa Claus.  They proclaimed the birth of the Messiah, the Savior, and the message of salvation. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,” (John 1:12).  When was the last time we read the Bible?  Christmas time is a good time to start reading, if you haven’t for some time.  It can be the greatest Christmas present you can give yourself.

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