“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His Name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:21–23—NKJV)

Birthdays are celebrated because of the fact of the grace of life. New parents remember the day of their child’s arrival into the world and celebrate it for the rest of that child’s life. Birthdays are different from all others. The date is placed on identification forms and it becomes an annual marker of milestones in his life. Family and friends celebrate the yearly return of the date because God granted life. The life God gave ought to be celebrated every day! Our conception of Christ’s birth ought to be no different.

Though we do not know the date of our Savior’s birth, we do know the fact and certainty of Jesus’ birth. The birth of Christ has very significant meaning for every believer and it is that which we must celebrate, not just on December 25th, but on every day, because God has granted us life! Because He lives, we live.

Our text tells of humility (she will bring forth a Son), of personal, self-sacrificial mission (call His Name Jesus), of divine work (He will save His people from their sins), of miraculous conception (the virgin), and of a new, eternal reality for every believer (call His Name Immanuel, or God with us). It is this new eternal reality which informs us as to how Christians ought to celebrate Christ’s birth. He is here and He lives!

The Bible is full of passages that remind believers that God is ever present with them. For Israel in the wilderness wanderings it was the Pillar of Cloud or the Pillar of Fire that assured them of God’s providential leading. For Israel in the land that God had given them, it was the Shekinah glory which indicated His approbation and their access to Him. The significance of God’s presence to Israel is seen in Psalm 46, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed…. God is in the midst of her [the city of God]; she shall not be moved…. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.” The last verse is so important that he repeats it at the end of the chapter just after saying, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

While there are plenty of New Testament texts which challenge believers to live in the power of the presence of Christ (Matthew 28:20 and Hebrews 13:5 are examples), there are few texts that explain how. One passage, however, leans heavily on the fact of the birth of Christ and presents the tremendous benefit of having the genuine Savior and God in your daily life. 1 John 5:19–20 reads, “We know [in principle] that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding [ability to think over, think through, meditate and reflect], that we may know [experientially] Him who is true [genuine], in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”

John states there are things that believers know by precept and by experience about the genuineness of the claims of Christ both of His deity and of the genuine life found only in Him. We have these assurances because He has come. This is an abiding operation of Christ; it is a living fact. We have positive, absolute knowledge that His claims are true. This is something that is unique to believers only, because the world, along with all its unsaved occupants, lies recumbent, comatose, and powerless under the arbitrary, capricious, and dread powers of Satan, the pernicious one. Because of this knowledge, John says in verse 21, “keep yourselves from idols.” Idols are those things that would suborn the rightful place of the genuine God and the lordship of His dear Son, your Savior, in your life.

On this Christmas, and the whole year through, celebrate the fact of the grace of life found in the Person of your Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, for He, indeed, has come! That fact changed, and changes, everything. Trust and obey.