Bethel Baptist Church

"For from Him and to Him and through Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen." Romans 11:36

Joe Teisan: December 2017


Moved by the eternal, sovereign God, the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, ruler of the known world, issued his royal and earth-shaking decree. Augustus ordered all Roman subjects to return to their ancestral home-town to be enrolled for census and taxation (Luke 2). Thus God, working through Augustus, set in motion the most thrilling, joyful, miraculous, and greatest event in all history. Unknown to Augustus, he opened the curtain to the sublime and historical drama of human redemption. Joseph and Mary who are in the royal family of David the King, journey to Bethlehem, fulfilling the prophecy of Micah 5:2. Mary is pregnant, “for that which is conceived in her is of (from out of) the Holy Spirit” (Mt. 1:20, Amp.).

On the first Christmas the unseen Jehovah God stepped out of the Old and into the New Testament wrapped in the small body of a Man. To avoid the wicked depravity of Adam’s fallen nature, Christ is virgin born and sinless. How are the glorious names of our Savior, Lord and King, explaining His character and identity? Jesus means Jehovah the Savior, and Christ is The Anointed One. “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Is. 9:6). “His name Emmanuel … is God with us” (Mt. 1:23). “I am (Myself) the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on) Me, although he may die, yet he shall live” (Jn. 11:25, Amp.). “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no one comes to the Father but by Me” (Jn. 14:6).

Is the meaning of Christmas toys, gift giving and Black Friday? How is God explaining His reason for Christmas? “When the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, to purchase the freedom of (to ransom, to redeem, to atone for) … that we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us {and be recognized as God’s sons}” (Gal. 4:4-5 Amp.). It is a mistake to call Mary, “the mother of God”, the Eternal Creator.

Christmas bridges the deep gap between God and man. On that holy night, Christ stripped off His eternal Sovereign, Majestic Glory, and became a servant, humble, and obedient, our Sin-Offering. “Being essentially one with God, and in the form of God {possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God} … stripped Himself {of all privileges and rightful dignity}, so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave) in that He became like men and was born a human being. … He abased and humbled Himself {still further} and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:6-8, Amp.). The Living God was humiliated for me.

King Herod, acting for Satan, killed all male babies in Bethlehem. He represents the God-haters, and Christ-haters, who stubbornly reject Jesus. Born in a stable, Christ had a life of misery, suffering, persecution, agony, crucifixion, grave and resurrection, to save all who believe in Him.

Is the Christmas wreath scriptural? The Greek word for wreath, stephanos, found in the New Testament, is translated “crown.” To those who love and believe in Him, Jesus gives “a crown of righteousness” (1 Peter 1:4). In heaven we will cast our golden crowns before His glorious throne (Rev. 4). Not only were the woven garlands of leaves and flowers given as trophies to Caesars and victorious athletes, but wreaths were also presented to kings upon their arrival. This Christmas, we again declare our absolute faith by giving to Christ, KING of kings, the golden wreaths of our hearts.

Joseph A. Teisan
Bethel Baptist Sunday School