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During this season, there is particular emphasis on an event that occurred over 2,000 years ago in the town of Bethlehem. Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus prophesied in the Old Testament. However, to fully understand the significance of Christmas, we need to understand the history of the Old Testament that led up to this greatest of events.
If we discount the account of creation, we remove the significance of Christmas.
Following the creation of the world, we read of the creation of the first man, called “Adam,” from whom all of mankind is descended. When God created Adam, He didn’t make him to be a puppet; Adam had the ability to choose and make decisions. God gave Adam an instruction to obey in Genesis 2.
Adam, however, chose to disobey God by eating the fruit of the one tree God had told him not to eat from. Because Adam was the first member of the human race, what Adam did affected all of humanity. The punishment for Adam’s sin was death (bodily death and our immortal souls separated from God)—not only for Adam, but for all his descendants.
In Genesis 3:15, God made a statement that actually sums up the message of the entire Bible and provided hope to Adam and Eve and their descendants (us): there was a way to be saved from the effects of sin. This declaration summarizes the whole meaning of Christmas:
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.
The words “
her seed” are actually a prophecy concerning the One who, conceived by God Himself, would be born of a woman (actually a virgin): the baby who was born in Bethlehem—the last Adam. The first Adam gave life to all his descendants. The last Adam, Jesus Christ, the Baby of Bethlehem, communicates “
life” and “
light” to all people, and gives eternal life to those who receive Him and believe on His name— to become the sons of God (John 1:1–14).
This is the message of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. It starts with the creation of a perfect world, and then, because of our sin in Adam, leads to our need of a Savior—which is why Jesus stepped into history 2,000 years ago.
Today, we talk about “keeping Christ in Christmas,” but do we communicate clearly enough about why this is so important? If we discount the account of creation, we remove the significance of Christmas. And sadly, generations of young people are being educated in schools and by the media with evolutionary ideas about our origins. The erosion of Christianity in society is directly linked to the attack on the history of Genesis and the increasing indoctrination in a false history: that man is a result of millions of years of evolutionary processes.
The message of the two Adams is what life is all about. But if we want people to understand this message, we need to ensure that we show them that the history in Genesis is true, for otherwise, they will not understand or listen to what is said about the Babe of Bethlehem.
Editor’s note: This article was updated on December 25, 2013, and it is a summary of the article What Is Christmas?
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.