Christmas Session - (created Dec 2010)
Did you know that Jesus fulfilled around many prophecies from the Old Testament? These prophets like Isaiah, Micah, Zechariah wrote 600-800 years before Jesus was born. They had a small insight about a promise to come, the Messiah, but didn't fully understand. Yet God allowed them to glimpse this amazing time when Jesus would come and be the perfect once for all sacrifice to give all of mankind the opportunity to connect back to God and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
When you read the Christmas story, remember that much of it was foretold by these Old Testament prophecies and exactly fulfilled in Jesus.
Random youtube clip - Amazing Grace Lights!
Some Bible Prophecies and fulfilments to check out
Genesis 3.15 ---> Matthew 1.20
Isaiah 7.14 ---> Matthew 1.18 and 1.25
Psalm 2.7 ---> Matthew 3.15
Jeremiah 23.5 ---> Luke 3.23-31
Micah 5.2 ---> Matthew 2.1
Short Isaiah Video from youtube
Virgin Birth - quite complex so feel free to skip
Just a side note... Those who come with a secular way of thinking like to claim that Isaiah 7.14 doesn't actually speak about a virgin birth but the word used in Hebrew ('almah') should actually be translated as 'young woman' as that is how it is translated in the other places in the Old Testament. Their agenda is to undermine the virgin birth and the miraculous nature of Jesus' birth, to try to claim that Jesus was not really God. However, there are several arguments to disprove this.
Firstly, the Septuagint (translation of Hebrew Scriptures into Greek around 200 BC by 70 brilliant Hebrew scholars). In this, widely accepted by scholars, the Greek word used in Isaiah 7.14 is 'parthenos' which means virgin. Of course, Mary was also a young woman, hence the use of 'almah' in Hebrew. This word for virgin is also used in Matthew 1.23 and Matthew 25 about the ten virgins.
Beyond this, we know from Matthew 1.25 that "Joseph did not consummate their marriage until Mary gave birth to a son." Unless Mary had been unfaithful, which we know from the Bible that she hadn't been, she must have been a virgin.
We also know that the Virgin Birth had to happen because of Jeremiah 22.30. In this Bible verse, God speaks to say that, "..none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah.” Yet we know from the Bible in Micah 5.2 that Jesus had to come from the royal line of Judah. How would God sort this one out?! The answer lies in the virgin birth. Luke traces a slightly different genealogy than Matthew and we are introduced to a line starting with Heli. So we find that the history of Jesus traces this man, Heli. We know that Joseph's father was Jacob (Matthew 1.16) so we understand that Heli was the father of Mary. Under the law (first granted to the daughters of Zelophehad in Numbers 27.1-11), a daughter could claim inheritance if there were no sons and she married within the tribe. Mary married within the tribe to Joseph, we presume Heli had no sons, so therefore she carried legal title to the line of David but without the curse in Jeremiah 22.30. So the blood line was pure through the virgin birth. We know that this is exactly what was hinted at in Genesis 3.15 when God spoke of the 'seed' of the woman.
Revelation 12 itself provides a picture of the spiritual battle raging during the birth of Jesus. Revelation 12.1-2 speaks of a "woman clothed with the sun... She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth." Then in verse 5, "She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron sceptre. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne."
We also know that now we are in a very real spiritual war. Verse 17 makes this clear, "Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring - those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus." All the way through, the focus is on the woman and her son. These are the key figures, affirming the importance of Mary and the virgin birth. Joseph the 'adopted father' isn't mentioned once in Revelation 12, whereas the Sonship and Lordship of Christ is affirmed in verse 5.
Beyond this, we have the picture in Revelation of the marriage of Christ and his 'virgin' bride the church in the wedding of the Lamb, the high point and consummation of history.
Luke 1.26-38 Rap / Poem
(c) 2010, Leah Clarke
Sent by the Father Gabriel descends into Galilee with a greeting
addresses Mary with a message of encouragement in their meeting
Mary is soon to be wed to a descendant of David the great king
She's nervous and scared of the future and what is approaching
“Good morning” Gabriel cries as the heavens open for him
You are beautiful with God's beauty on the outside and in
You shine with tenderness and radiant beauty from your loving King
God be with you and keep you as you are travelling
Shaken with fear from this message she wondered what was behind it
But the angel assured her 'Mary have nothing to fear, for that He won't permit'
There is a surprise for you, you will become pregnant and have a baby he will be fit
For a King but He is the king I know it sounds like something missing I know it's confusing
You child will be Great and Mighty He will be called Son of the Highest
The Lord will give Him the throne of David he will be powerful and righteous
He will rule Jacobs house forever there will be no end to His kingdom it will be like this
Forever Almighty, a strong fortress he will shine the brightest
Confused Mary asks the angel how she's pregnant if she's never slept with a man
If she's never slept with a man, how can this be confessed into a written plan?
The Angel replied with words of assurance, 'The Holy Spirit will plant a seed within'
And so the child you bring to birth will be Holy, the Son of God, the Master-man
Gabriel the chosen Angel continues to re-assure her and confer
Mary, your cousin became pregnant as old as she is God will answer'
Nothing is too big or impossible for God, do you see now what this birth will incur?
A Saviour to the world born from a virgin, a miracle, out saving grace, a transfer
So Mary begins to understand God's plan for His Son to be born through her
She sees she is a maid, a servant ready to submit and bow at His altar
Productive and a building point for the Saviour of the world He is our Anchor
Will you be ready to serve and give birth to a new life with Jesus
Put together a Christmas 'Adverts' or 'Spoof' Video
This was put together by the teenagers at a church in Exeter. It may give you some ideas of what you could do!
Luke 2.1-20 in Rap / Poem
(c) myfishbites, 2010
At that time, Caesar Augustus spoke, his plans unfurled
He decreed a census be taken of the entire Roman world
The first census to take place, before the governor of Syria was Quirinius
It likely took place before Herod the Great, someone way more insidious
Everybody went to his or her town to register
Herod’s reasons for the census were messed up, plain sinister
Joseph headed up from Nazareth in Galilee
To Judea then to Bethlehem, up to his close family
He repped the House of David, in line to the throne
Of the Messiah as Isaiah prophecied, the one foundation stone
Joseph travelled with Mary, his wife to be
Pledged to be married, with a baby who would be
The Messiah, the way, the Root of Jesse, the light
The one they pierced, the alpha, the omega, our heart’s delight
While they were there, the baby came to be born
Mary’s firstborn son, who one day would wear a crown of thorns
She wrapped him in a cloth and placed him in a manger
No room for them in the inn, his birth like his life; a stranger
The shepherds in the fields nearby
Watching over their flocks under the clear night sky
When an Angel of the Lord, radiant and powerful, appeared
God’s glory shone around him, the shepherds cowered in fear
The Angel spoke with grace, “Do not be afraid…
I bring you good news of joy, God’s glory on earth displayed
This news for all the people, of a Saviour on crusade
Today in the town of David, he was born to you, and you…
Christ the Lord, the Son of God, the way, the life, the truth
And this will be the sign, of the one who’ll be the life exchanger
He’ll be wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger
Suddenly the heavens were filled with a huge angelic choir
Praising, singing, lifting God up in their heavenly attire
Saying: Glory to God in the highest, God’s peace to all of those
On earth who please and fear him, God’s favour from head to toes
The angels roared back to heaven, the shepherds could barely speak
But stuttered, “let’s get to Bethlehem to see this child so unique
The Lord has told us to go, we need to obey
To fear him, to see the child born this happy day.”
They hurried to find Mary and Joseph, to see the baby child
He was lying in a manger, the only one who’d never be defiled
When they’d seen him, the lyrics flowed inside
The spread the world concerning what had been told them about this child
And all who heard were amazed at what the shepherd’s said
Quickly the news travelled, one day his fame would be widespread
But Mary treasure up these things and pondered them in her heart
This son of hers, born of God, the perfect one, set apart
The shepherds returned, glorifying God and praising
Just as they were told, so it was, this would be the start of something truly amazing.
The true message of Christmas is well told in Scrooge and is pictured by the visitors who came to see Jesus. The story of Scrooge is about how someone who lives a lonely and miserable life sees the light and is totally transformed. Scrooge sees the light through 3 spirits who visit him. In the Bible we know it is who Jesus brings hope and transformation for the world. Christmas reminds us how Jesus was born as a baby, perfectly and completely both man and God.
Then we have the Magi who were learned men of the time, and the shepherds who were so lowly they weren't even trusted to give evidence in a court. Both the lowly and the intelligent took a journey to fall at the feet of Jesus - the Magi were Gentiles (non Jews) whereas the shepherds were likely Jewish. All this was God's way of showing the message of Jesus was for all mankind, showing how people would worship the Messiah from near and far.
Today, Christmas also reflects our world. In the Christmas story, Herod tried to kill the baby Jesus (despite the secularists claiming this never happened). This was from a long line of satan using man to try and break the blood line from Adam to Jesus. Today around us, people reject Jesus and even try to kill those who follow Jesus, just as with Herod. But the birth of Jesus was and is the only hope for the world. All around us, we see decay and disorder. Into this comes the message of Christmas with the purity and power of the baby Jesus. We desperately need God in our world today. As the angel said to the shepherd in the BBC's version of the Nativity, "Jesus came for people just like you."
Christmas 5 Session added 25/12/10