I’ll bet you have never seen the words “Christmas” and “prostate cancer” linked before. Let me start by addressing some personal thoughts about Christmas. When Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph, the father of Jesus, and explicitly told him to name the baby “Immanuel” which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23 and prophesied hundreds of years earlier in Isaiah 7:14.) Consider the phrase “God with us”. My Bible tells me that God created all things. On a macro scale, this includes universes upon universes, galaxies after galaxies, stars without number. On a micro scale, when one looks at a little ant and consider that this insect who we often step on accidently, has complex biological systems involving brain, nervous, reproductive, sensory and communication systems. The same God created these things. My little finite mind cannot comprehend the enormous scope of God. Not only that, but we are told that Jesus Himself was an integral part of this creation process. “For in Him, all things were created, both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible,…..through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16). This same Jesus has now taken on human form as a child. Amazing!!!
So why did He do this? Matthew 1:21 tells us that the same angel told Joseph to name Him Jesus, “for it is He who will save His people (us) from their sins.” Why did He have to do that? First, because all of us humans have violated at least one of the ten commandments, probably more than once, a human action called “sin” (not just “mistakes” or “errors”). But couldn’t God forgive eveybody? He does forgive our sins when we confess them to Him (1 John 1:9). He could but that would violate one of God’s unchangeable characteristics, namely His justice. Could you conceive of an earthly judge presiding over a courtroom packed with convicted law-breakers just exclaiming “you’re all forgiven, have a nice day?” Would that be justice? Hardly. A price has to be paid by the offenders. As compensation for our sinful nature and actions, God required a sinless sacrifice, namely Jesus, who we know led a sinless life, died by crucifixion as payment for our sins and was resurrected three days later. The resurrection guarantees us who put our faith and trust in Him the promise of eternal life and also denotes Jesus’ deity as compared with His humanity. One imperfect human being dying for another human would not be a worthy sacrifice.
So, the birth of Jesus then has the significance of an eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God coming to earth, making a personal relationship with Him and God the Father a reality by placing our faith in Jesus and why He came. It furthermore guarantees us eternal life with new bodies such as Jesus possessed after He was resurrected from the dead, in a new heaven and a new earth (which God will one day re-make). (See Revelation 21:1). This can best be summed up in the familiar verse John 3:16. “For God so loved the world” (and all of us included), “that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him” (viz. puts our faith and trust in Him to forgive our sins and desire to serve Him) “will not perish but have everlasting life.”
So how do I make this Christmas message of “God with us” personal as it relates to our imperfect, cancer-prone bodies? Psalm 139 states that this same God, whom we can know personally through a relationship with His Son, Jesus, knows each one of us individually and intrically. In fact, the Psalmist says, “You (God) did form my inward parts, You did weave me in my mother’s womb. ….I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (verses 13-14). I find it curious that given the amazingly intricate double helical, coil-like, complex shape of our DNA and RNA, the Bible uses the word “weave” or “woven” to describe our body’s construction. So the God who made us and Jesus who is both God and man, can relate to us on an intimate personal level as we battle our diseases. The name Immanuel, God with us, means we can approach Jesus with our broken bodies. He may chose to heal us or sustain now, either through His direct intervention or those of medical personnel, or fulfill the ultimate healing in a new heaven and new earth with a new body. God’s eyes “has seen my unformed substance” and the days that were ordained for me have been written in God’s book (paraphrase from Psalm 139:16). To know this God personally through the child Jesus whose birth we celebrate at this time, allows us to release our fears, anxieties, apprehensions and nervous sorrows. It is a reason to truly have a “Merry Christmas” and a healthy New Year.
Remember Isaiah the prophet foretold hundreds of years prior to Jesus” birth that, “for a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:6). For information on obtaining a personal relationship with God, see the following link.