An almost palatable taste of hope was in the air. Much had been promised and much was expected–at least by the faithful. The elements of success had been carefully brought together. People waited with bated breath. Finally, the winning shot went home and the team held on for ultimate victory. The USA hockey team had beaten the Russians and went on to capture the gold.
A nation, perhaps with many throughout the world, erupted with joy. The announcer could only gasp: “Do you believe in miracles?!”
Ice again covers the lakes, and excitement wafts through the air. Much has been promised; much is expected. It’s not Lake Placid in 1980, but it’s Christmas. And the question should again be asked with great awe and wonder, “Do you believe in miracles!?”
If your answer is yes, you are on your way to celebrating in a way that is pleasing to God and profitable for yourself. For, you see, Christmas is a time to celebrate miracles.
There are three miracles especially that are both noteworthy and essential.
Miracle One • The Incarnation!
“There is born to you this day… a Savior… who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
Do you believe in this miracle that Jesus of Nazareth, the Babe born in a stable in Bethlehem, is the one and only Son of God?
Many would answer “no” to that question. They say: “Jesus as a prophet, teacher, philosopher, moral example, even a social reformer?—Yes.” But “Jesus as God’s own divine, eternal Son?—Of course not!”
Yet the Father testified from heaven, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Jesus said that He and His Father are one (see John 10:30), and that He is the Living Bread from heaven (see John 6:51). He challenged people to believe in His divine miracles, if they would not believe His words (see John 10:38).
Because of the Lord’s claims, the Jewish religious rulers, most of the people, and even some of Jesus’ early followers turned away from Him.
But some believed. Consider the Christmas account. The shepherds, for example, heard the angel’s announcement, went to Bethlehem to check it out and, finding it to be true, glorified God. The wise men followed the miraculous star and went to worship the newborn King.
Consider also that, at Jesus’s death on the cross, the Roman centurion confessed: “Truly, this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54)
The Christian faith is built upon miracles, and the basic truth of the gospel is that Jesus Christ is God come in human flesh. If our Savior is not God’s Son, there is no redemption, no atonement, no reconciliation, and therefore no hope. Without the miracles of Christmas—as well as of Easter, Ascension and Pentecost—our faith is baseless, built on nothing.
Miracle Two • The Virgin Birth!
“…Behold, the virgin shall conceive” (Isaiah 7:14).
When God offered Ahaz, king of Judah, a miraculous sign to convince him that the invasion plan of Syria would not succeed, Ahaz evidently didn’t believe in miracles, for he refused God’s offer. So, despite his unbelief, God gave Ahaz (and the whole world) a great sign: a virgin would conceive and bear a Son! It was a reaffirmation of the first gospel promise which said that the Crusher of Satan’s head would be the Seed of the woman (see Genesis 3:15).
Despite the fact that the virgin birth of Jesus is a clear teaching of the Bible (see Matthew 1:23), many today deny it. They say it was not possible or even necessary.
God the Holy Spirit surely could have “overshadowed” (see Luke 1:35) any woman. But the fact that He caused Mary, who was a virgin, to conceive removes any possibility that Jesus’s begetting Father was human.
If Jesus had been born of human parents, He could not have been our Savior. He Himself would have been ‘born of flesh,’ meaning that He would have been sinful, and thus incapable of procuring for us the righteousness we poor sinners so desperately need. Then His human-only blood could not have paid the ransom price for our sins.
Let us not call God a liar. Rather, let us rejoice in the miraculous virgin birth, for without it our very salvation is called into question—yes, it is in fact impossible!
Miracle Three • Our Own Saving Faith!
We are told that Mary answered the angel, “Behold, the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to Your Word” (Luke 1:38).
Do you believe in miracles? In fact, are you one? Some noted names from the past have doubted ‘impossible’ births. Aged Sarah laughed at the idea that she would bear the son of the covenant (See Genesis 18:12). Her husband Abraham nodded his head at the promise, but then made other plans (see Genesis chapter 16). Similarly, when Zacharias doubted the ‘impossible’ conception of his son John, he was struck dumb for not believing God’s angel messenger (see Luke 1:20).
Do you believe in miracles? If you do, know that it is because you yourself are an ‘impossible’ birth, a miracle of grace, a sinner reborn by the will of God! Faith itself is a miracle-work of God, and true miracles can be comprehended only by faith!
Many people claim to have witnessed miracles. The Pharaoh of Egypt saw a bunch of them but did not believe. Mary and Joseph believed in the miracle-birth of Jesus because God convinced them that nothing is impossible with Him.
The union of Christ’s two natures—divine and human at the same time—is a great miracle. It is a mystery to us still, yet we know it is possible for God to accomplish and for us to believe.
Do you believe in miracles? The atheist doesn’t, for they are against his ideology. The materialist doesn’t, because for him all things can be explained only by natural phenomena. The liberal theologian doesn’t, for to his mind the miracle accounts are only fables. Some false religions claim miracles, but if the supposed miracles are stripped away, their religion is not affected. Such religions are based not on miracles and grace but on human work-righteousness and foolish pride.
Not so Christianity, which is one Grand Miracle from beginning to end! Miracles were not just added on, but were and are central and essential.
And so we celebrate Christmas with faith and joy, praising and thanking God for the gracious miracles of the incarnation, the virgin birth, and our own saving faith!