In the early 1980s, Kenneth E. Hagin and his son, Kenneth W. Hagin, discussed
the meaning of Christmas during a television taping. The following has been adapted from that conversation.
Kenneth W. It seems that many people keep Jesus as a baby in a manger. They don't simply commemorate His birthday on Christmas. We celebrate our birthdays, and we don't try to keep our children babies. Why is it that some want to keep the Son of God a baby in a manger?
Kenneth E. I really think it may be a subtle device the devil created to have people worship a baby. The second chapter of Luke tells how Joseph and Mary went to the Temple to have the child circumcised and present offerings according to Jewish custom.
But the end of the chapter skips over the first 12 years of Jesus' life. We see Joseph and Mary going up to Jerusalem again, only this time Jesus is 12 years of age. We see Him discussing spiritual matters with teachers in the Temple. Scripture then skips over His life until He begins His ministry.
The four Gospels were not written to tell us about Jesus' birth, and we shouldn't stop there, because if Jesus was just born and that was the end of it, we wouldn't have the Good News.
Christmas to me doesn't mean a baby in a manger. Yes, we keep the traditional day of His birth, but we should think beyond that. He isn't just a man—He is the Son of God.
The four Gospels contain the story of Jesus' birth, His life, His ministry, what He did, what He said, and finally, His death.
It wasn't Jesus' birth that saved us; it was his death—and not only that He died, but also that He was raised from the dead. You can't be saved just believing that Jesus died. You also must believe that God raised Him from the dead.
Kenneth W. That's right.
Kenneth E. Paul said in Romans 10:9, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Of course, we should see the overall view of God's plan of redemption, including that when Jesus was born, He took upon Himself a body. But that's just the beginning of that plan.
That plan of redemption had to be consummated in His death, burial, resurrection, and seating at the right hand of the Father, where He now is and where He ever liveth to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25).
When I think of the Christmas story, I think of the whole plan of redemption. I don't just think of a baby in a manger.
Kenneth W. I do the same thing. And I think a lot of people today should begin to think along these lines.
Kenneth E. The second important thing to realize about Christmas is that God's gift to the world wasn't just a baby in a manger. It had to start there, but God's gift to the world was eternal life! "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"
Luke gives details about the birth of Jesus, but John doesn't deal with the physical and natural side of Jesus' life at all in his Gospel; he deals with the spiritual side.
John starts by saying, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing
made that was made. . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:1, 3, 14). John also said, "In him was life; and the life was the light of men" (v. 4).
When I think about Christmas, I think about life—the gift of eternal, everlasting life. That promise belongs to us now. When I was born again, I received a new life into my spirit: the life and nature of God.