What Christmas is All About

Is there anyone who can tell me what is Christmas all about?” asks a beloved cartoon character. His friend quickly recites from Luke’s Gospel: “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (2:11).

The City of David is Bethlehem, and the Jewish prophet Micah promised that the heir to David’s throne would be born in that tiny town:

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting (Mic. 5:2).

In Hebrew Bethlehem means “house of bread,” while Ephrathah means “fruitful bough.” Together they identify a specific place where the long-expected promise of God would be fulfilled. Bethlehem Ephrathah, located in Judah, was so small that it was not listed among Judah’s holdings. Yet at the First Advent, it eclipsed all other towns. As the carol says, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” For in Bethlehem, God fulfilled Micah 5:2: that someone who would be from “everlasting”—literally, timeless eternity—would be born. That divine One would save us from our sins (Isa. 53: 4–6; Mt. 1:21). And someday He will rule Israel and the entire world (Isa. 9:6; Mic. 5:2). That’s what Christmas is all about.

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