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Saturday, April 20, 2024 at 4:23 AM
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Christmas, the retold story!

STUFF ABOUT GOD AND CHRISTIANITY | Dr. Ron Braley

Dr. Ron Braley Guest Columnist

This column represents the thoughts and opinions of Dr. Ron Braley. This is NOT the opinion of the Taylor Press.

Christmas is full of traditions, including the story depicting Jesus’ birth. Some renderings sport sheep, camels and donkeys with costumeclad humans for effect.

The event makes us feel good and can be a great time of fun and family. But is there more to the story—perhaps stuff behind the scenes that would make it more meaningful if known?

Let’s see.

First, the Son of God, born a son of man, has been around since the creation of our universe (John 1:1-4).

Second, this Son of God had to live and die as a human for a reason: to restore the relationship between Creator and creation by paying the penalty for the first humans’ rebellion and crushing evil (e.g., Genesis 3:15). Why? Paying the price could only be done by someone who had never rebelled against God. He began sending clues about this coming perfect Savior through various prophets like Isaiah: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) This Prince would be born in about 4 BC and eventually crucified, as shown to the prophet Daniel 500 years before Jesus came to earth (Daniel 9:25-26). His birth brings God’s peace to the people with whom He is pleased (Luke 2:14), but it prompted the wrath of a man, Herod (Matthew 2:1--12). For Jesus’ safety, an angel told Joseph and Mary to escape to Egypt until Herod’s death (Matthew 2:13-15). How would the journey be possible? After all, travel and daily life were costly, just as they are now.

Allow me to introduce the wise men.

To fully appreciate their contribution, we must return to Persia 500 years earlier when Daniel earned great respect and treasure. He was also well-trained in Babylonian arts, including astronomy. He knew when Jesus would be born and would’ve been familiar with Micah’s prophecy about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).

So, Daniel, the Jew who spent his life in Persia, had treasure, knew how to chart star movements, knew where Jesus would be born and knew the timeframe.

Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised that Persian magi (wise men) knew that Jesus fulfilled prophecies, and the alignment of the stars at the time and place of His birth. Daniel’s great wealth was likely the resource that funded Jesus’ trip to Egypt until Herod’s death.

Our God is the master orchestrator who crafts everything according to His pleasure! “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) God and our Christian traditions can bring great blessings, peace and joy! Next, let’s revisit my New Year 2022 article on new and renewed beginnings. Meanwhile, give what God desires: charity, justice, mercy and pure heart.

Questions or comments? Email [email protected].

Blessings and peace, Dr. Ron Braley, MDiv, DMin.


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