In times past, Christmas was celebrated quietly and seasonal merchandise was on the shelves after Thanksgiving and the day after wasn't called Black Friday. Nowadays, some stores start loading their shelves around Halloween and it's a two month merchandising blitz to pry our hard-earned money out of our hands to buy the perfect gift for that special someone, which fills the company's coffers and pays their bills.
Once upon a time, in the garden of Eden a cryptic remark set the stage for the birth of Jesus, which means Savior. You can find that in Genesis 3:15, where God announced to satan that even though he would strike at the heel of Jesus, Jesus would crush satan's head. This was after Adam failed to be Eve's covering. That first sin set into motion an event that took centuries to happen.
Fast forward to the time after civil war in Israel. God was searching for someone to tell His people what He wanted them to do and what would happen when they didn't do it. Isaiah raised his hand and was tapped to add all sorts of prophecy from God on Jesus. Isaiah 7:14 says the Lord will give you (Israel) a sign: a virgin shall be with child. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call His name Emmanuel, which means 'God with us'. Isaiah 9:6 says for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be on His shoulders, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. Again, in chapter 11, verses 1 and 2 there is more mention of the birth of Jesus. And there shall come for the rod out of the stem of Jesse (King David's father), and a branch shall grow out of his roots and the spirit of the LORD shall rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
Isaiah's time was about 700 years before the birth of Jesus.
That's some birth announcement.
Now we deal with His conception. In Luke 19:28-44 the angel Gabriel was sent from God to announce to Miriam, out of the line of David, who was from the tribe of Judah, that she had been chosen by God to conceive, carry and give birth to Jesus. She was a little flabbergasted and wondered how she, a virgin could be found with child. Gabriel replied that the Holy Spirit would overshadow her and she would be found to be with child. At the time, she was pledged to marry Joseph, also of the line of David and the tribe of Judah. The betrothal period was one year and during that time, the woman lived in her home with her parents while her betrothed built a home befitting her and waited for the perfect time to come for his bride. Miriam tells Joseph she was with child. His options were to call her out publicly and have her stoned to death, put her aside quietly or marry her. An angel told him to marry her because the child she was carrying was the savior of the world.
Nine months later Caesar announced a census of the entire Roman world and that meant that Joseph and Miriam had to journey to Bethlehem, which means city of bread. This was David's town. Jesus is the Bread of life. Miriam and Joseph traveled on mule for her and foot for him and got to town and found there was no room in the inn. They had to find room in a stable or cave where animals were kept. With only Joseph there for assistance she was delivered of her first child and they named Him Jesus. The Savior of mankind was born in a feed trough. The angels announced to the shepherds the birth of Jesus. The wise men of the Orient (Medo-Persia) had studied the prophecies because that was where Esther rallied to defeat the evil Haman and save God's chosen people. Many of them stayed in that area. They followed the star and brought Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Those were the only gifts mentioned in scripture, and they were for Him.
As Jesus grew in stature and wisdom, He never celebrated His birthday. It is not mentioned in Scripture.
Christmas was first celebrated around 300 AD. What took so long? Well, for starters, it wasn't important to Him. He had things on His itinerary that were far above celebrating the day of His birth. Three hundred years after His birth the "Church", which used to be called The Way had really begun getting away from The Way. As for picking 25 December, that was the time of the year of a pagan celebration from Rome called Saturnalia. Certain "Christians" in history have chosen to attach a pagan celebration to a Holy day to help bring more pagans into His "Church". He doesn't need the help. All we need to do is go to the four corners of the Earth and preach the Good News (Gospel). In 1659 the Puritans outlawed Christmas because there was no Biblical authority for it. They were correct in that assertion. In 1681 the British Crown pressured Massachusetts to repeal the law. They did.
In 2011 it is hard to find a person, much less a Church congregation that follows Scripture on the birth of Jesus. He didn't celebrate it, why should we? Why do we act like the world after the death of the two witnesses at the Wailing Wall in Revelation? When they were killed the whole world (followers of satan) celebrated by giving each other gifts.
My commentary on the whole situation is we are not pure, like Jesus called us to be. We are not Holy, as He called us to be. Our salt has been trampled on the ground and our light is dimming. Our Churches are filled with people that judge others, have critical spirits, live together, commit adultery, watch pornography, covet, steal or other sins that won't get us to heaven. Jesus called us to keep our lamps full and be ready when He, the Bridegroom was coming for His bride, the REAL church. Repented of our sin, immersed in water for baptism, following Jesus, feasting on His Word, taking communion, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and being His hands and feet.
As far as Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards men, we don't need to do that only on Christmas. Jesus Himself tells us how we are to treat our brethren and those that don't know Him every day. What do you say we start acting like Jesus and following Him 365 days instead of the month of December.