What Was the Virgin Birth? (And Why Is it Important to Christmas?)
- Meg Bucher Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2018 13 Dec
Christians celebrate Christmas, the day Christ was born on earth to Mary, the virgin mother. God doesn’t have to go to great lengths to show His vibrant brush strokes in the world and on our lives, yet He often does. Jesus coming to earth in such a unique way requires faith of those who believe, even to this day.
Though Christ said, “blessed are those who have believed and not seen” (John 20:29), there’s no need to have blind faith in Christ. Christmas is the celebration of the seemingly impossible but fantastically true virgin birth of Jesus Christ. It was something only God could accomplish. Mary’s faith connects us to this miraculous event and sets the tone for the celebratory status of Christmas.
What Is the Virgin Birth and Why Is it Important?
"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit” (Isaiah 11:1).
The impossibility of the virgin birth of the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament and fulfilled with Christ’s birth to Mary, a virgin mother. Only God, the Creator of life, is capable of such a miracle. It’s important because of who He chose to birth Jesus, and what she teaches us. The Son of God humbled Himself to come down to earth to save us, not as the King He is, but a carpenter’s son. Surrounded by the controversy of Mary’s pregnancy before their marriage, no less.
Hundreds of years before Jesus was even born, more than 300 prophecies were recorded to tell of His coming, His life and journey to the cross, and the power of His Resurrection. These prophecies point to the exact location, circumstances, and even timing of Christ’s birth. God alone is the only One who could plan those specific details and ensure they all come to pass” (Debbie McDaniel).
The story of Jesus was alive from the very beginning, weaving through the generational lines of patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Jesse, and David, as God promised through Scripture. “‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land’” (Jeremiah 23:5).
Every prophecy of the Messiah’s birth was fulfilled with Jesus. In Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 1, the details of Jesus’ lineage are listed. Not all are royalty. Some are common, and some are seemingly unqualified. The fact that He chose to be birthed of that lineage gives us hope that no matter our circumstances, in Christ we are conquerors. God loves to use ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things.
Who Was Mary?
"But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God'’” (Luke 1:30).
Hundreds of years before the famous manger scene we envision today, Isaiah foretold, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). The fulfillment of that prophecy came as Mary’s future was revealed, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means, ‘God with us’)” (Matthew 1:23).
Mary was from Nazareth, and she and Joseph were betrothed at a young age as was their traditional Jewish custom. They were not extravagant people; Joseph was a carpenter, and Mary knew of the Old Testament prophecies. The Magnificat fully expresses her emotion regarding God seeing her and choosing her to give birth to His Son:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Luke 1:46-49).
Joseph did not believe Mary at first. Who, in their right mind, would?! A dream from an angel confirmed Mary’s state and fulfilled the prophecy: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’)” (Matthew 1:23).
What Does the Virgin Birth Mean for Christmas?
Emmanuel, God with us. The virgin birth is the center of the Christmas story. Through an average person came the Son of God. Christmas is about Christ’s choice to come down from heaven and make a way for us by making His way through life on earth and unto the cross. He was born a vulnerable babe in a manger, who was cared for as all parents care for their children. Christmas is the celebration of our Savior, who can relate to us and our lives on earth. Though fully God, He fully lived as a man. Through all of the hurt, trials, and triumphs. He laughed with friends. He had siblings! Four brothers and a number of sisters!
Christmas is the celebration of the way Jesus paved for us, and His presence via the Holy Spirit that never leaves us. Not only did He walk where we trod, but He understands. Our compassionate King chose to come in this way. He is Love, defined. The virgin birth signifies the trust and faith required to give Him our circumstances and trust that He’s bigger, and His way is better. He chose a virgin to bore Him and shepherds to celebrate with. He came for all of us. He loves all of us. And He’ll be back for us.
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Meg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ on her blog, https://sunnyand80.org.She is a stay-at-home mom, freelance writer, blogger, and author of “Friends with Everyone …Friendship Within the Love of Christ.” She resides in Northern Ohio with her husband of eleven years, two daughters, and their Golden-doodle.
This article is part of our larger Christmas and Advent resource library centered around the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ. We hope these articles help you understand the meaning and story behind important Christian holidays and dates and encourage you as you take time to reflect on all that God has done for us through his son Jesus Christ!
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The Birth of Jesus: Bible Story and Scripture Verses
Why Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh Were Given to Baby Jesus
What is Advent: Definition & Meaning Behind Christmas Tradition
Christmas Bible Verses & Scripture Story
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