Emperor Constantine assumed power over the Roman Empire in AD 306. A major development in the history of the Christian faith occurred in the fourth century, with Emperor Constantine’s “acceptance” of Christianity in AD 312.The previous Emperors, Decius and Diocletian, had brutally suppressed the church by burning Bibles, destroying church buildings, and executing believers. Regarded as the thirteenth apostle by Eusebius, Constantine ended the persecution of Christians.
When the early church was being persecuted, they anticipated the imminent coming of Christ in power and glory at the end of the age. Constantine assumed a particular locale in Bethlehem as the precise birthplace of Christ, and, in AD 327, commissioned the building of the Church of the Nativity. In AD 313, he legalized Christianity with the Edict of Milan.
Many years have transpired since 313, and yet much more from the night skies that were brightened by an unusual star from the East, announcing the birth of the Messiah. With the celebration of Christmas this month, there is another opportunity for contemplation. Moreover, in the midst of the exhilaration and all the ornate decorations, in addition to the expensive commercialization that characterizes Christmas today, it is wise to reconsider the Christmas event and the Person whose birth is celebrated.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
- John 3:16
With a biblical understanding of the circumstances of Jesus’ birth, the Nativity scene can be more meaningful. The most fundamental aspect of Christmas is to comprehend that Jesus came to earth as the Savior of all those who would repent of their sin and believe in Him (John 3:16-18).
A secondary consideration is to understand that Joseph and Mary were not alone when the Lord Jesus was born; rather, family members, who provided compassion and protection, would have surrounded them. God the Father was certain to have His Son surrounded by family when He was born into the world. The Christmas narrative demonstrates the importance of our biological family, and how essential they are for our wellbeing. Beyond our biological family is our spiritual family, which is equally important.
Click on the image below to read the complete December 2016 article in the Midnight Call magazine