“Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”  (Matthew 1:23).
  There is so much said about the origin of the Christmas season.  Traditionalists maintain that the origin actually began many years after the birth of Jesus Christ.  They affirm that no such season was ever celebrated until the Druids collaborated the festival of the sun god with the birth of the Son of God.  The Druids’ festival was held on December 25, just a few days after the winter solstice, i.e. the shortest day of the year.  By replacing the sun god with the Son of God, they were able to keep alive a pagan holiday.  Historians will tell us that the celebration of Christmas actually began about two years after the birth of Jesus, when the wise men from the East were led by a supernatural Star to the HOUSE where Joseph had his family living at the time.  The gifts, the star, and wise men became important parts of the Christmas story.  Once again, we see the collaboration of calendar days to coincide with actual historical events.  Thus, historians will quickly confirm they aren’t quite sure of the actual date, but there is no harm in picking or accepting a pre-existing date, December 25.
  Does the actual date really matter that much?  Well, quite frankly, no it doesn’t, since we have no actual way of knowing.  The important fact is set before us in the Scriptures above, Matthew 1:23, which confirms that God chose to visit His Creation in human form.  Many verses of Scripture reinforce what is stated.  The prophet Isaiah wrote, by inspiration, the very words 742 years in his prophetic account, “Therefore the LORD himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).  The beloved apostle John penned these words, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1).  And then to make it absolutely clear, he said, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
   The Apostle Paul added depth and understanding when he wrote, “Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6-7).  To put an end to any kind of disbelief or controversy, Paul again pens an emphatic statement of the fact that God was with us when he said, “And great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).
     Oh yes, God was with us and is still with us today.  That is the real Christmas story.
      Pastor H. Preston Parker