Sometimes Christmas presents
Are last-minute things—
We rush to just buy something—
Hope for joy it brings.
Sometimes gifts are well thought out
And studied with care,
But executed hurriedly
We hope the idea’s fair.
Sometimes our grand designs
Are thwarted in some way:
The store’s sold out, it’s discontinued—
It costs how much? No way!
But God’s Christmas Present
Was no last-minute mad dash.
He did not scramble to conjure
A salvation that’s rash.
The gift of Jesus to all men
Was never a plan B.
God’s plan to redeem all the earth’s
Not done surreptitiously.
At the right time Christ died for us,1
At God’s appointed time.
He spun it in the stars before men
Were made in His design.2
So that the star that led wisemen
Echoed His ancient plan,
He always wanted to give Christ
Before we were a span.
And now it’s Christmas, here at last.
Now His plan is unfurled.
He gives us what He had prepared
Before foundation of the world—
- Romans 5:6
- Genesis 1:14
- Matthew 12:35, 25:34; John 17:24; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:19-21; Revelation 13:8, 17:8
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us[a] for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,Ephesians 1:4 (ESV)
20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.1 Peter 1:19-21 (ESV)
Before God even made the world, before the “foundation of the world” as the Bible puts so poetically, Christ was known and loved by the Father (1 Peter 1:20; John 17:24), God chose us to be holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4), the kingdom was prepared for us (Matthew 25:34), and our names were written in the Book of Life (Revelation 13:8, 17:8). Wow! Now if that doesn’t make you feel special this Christmas, I don’t know what would. God planned Christ’s course and my salvation before the foundation of the world. That blows me away.
Genesis 1:14 tells us that God created the planets and stars for signs and seasons. Leviticus 23:37 tells us that God gave Israel feasts and called them “appointed times”. All the feasts are a foreshadowing of either Christ’s first coming (His birth, death, and resurrection), or His second coming (in power and glory to judge and raise the dead and restore the earth). The Bible tells us the law (and consequently the “appointed times”) are a shadow of the heavenly things as well as the things to come (Hebrew 8:5; 10:1). Some of these things already came with Christ, and some are yet to come. The order of the planets and the appointed feasts of the Lord do not allow for a relative time flow to history. It has all been fixed down to the day. The star that shone in the east for Christ’s birth was planned to the day by God and He set it in motion on day 4 of creation (Genesis 1:14-19). Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection were all fulfilled on the exact days of each feast which foreshadowed those events (Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits). The Holy Spirit came on the exact feast day that foreshadowed His coming, Shavuot (aka Pentecost).
Dennis Strickland is a brilliant man who works for NASA and who is a member of my church. He uses a program called Starry Night to project planetary and stellar positions for NASA. As he began to wonder about what the Star of Bethlehem was, he also wondered why he couldn’t use Starry Night to go back and find it. And He did! Click here to see his full presentation he gave this year about the Star of Bethlehem. He has been presenting about this for years. By finding the time the star appeared and its various cycles of convergence, he was able to calculate the day the angel visited Mary, the day Mary conceived Jesus, and even Jesus’ birthdate, which wasn’t in December at all. The visit of the wisemen, however, was in December. The angel visited Mary in the month of Elul, the month of preparing for the new Jewish civil year, and Mary conceived Jesus on the Feast of Trumpets, the day of the new Jewish civil year. According to tradition, Adam’s birthday was on this day, and the ancient rabbis say the Messiah will come on this day. Well He did! This is also a strong argument for life beginning at conception too. If Christ was conceived on the Feast of Trumpets, and the Messiah would come on the Feast of Trumpets, then Christ’s earthly life began at conception. Adam did not undergo gestational development, so he was just formed and breathed into by God to begin his life on this day thousands of years before. Jesus is the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). Again, this is another thread that makes a strong tie and connection to the intricacies of God’s appointed times, the cycles He set in place during creation, and His eternal plan of salvation. Creation is the story of salvation!
If you believe in Jesus, your name is already written in the Book of Life. If you do not believe in Jesus, your name is not in the Book of Life, or maybe you have yet to believe. If you’re not sure, I pray that you carefully consider these things. The Bible says salvation is very simple: “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). God bless you, and merry Christmas.
If you would like a copy of my book, Learning to Love: A Collection of Poetry and 40 Daily Devotions, it is available on Amazon $10 US for paperback and $5 US for eBook. Proceeds go charity. Thank you and God bless.
All Scripture references come from the English Standard Version (ESV).