“Merry Christmas!” This is the greeting that people commonly use at Christmas and I extend it to you. May you have a Merry Christmas!
Many people know that Christmas is the holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ – Isa al Masih (PBUH). But, even so, why is this day especially ‘Merry’ or joyful? After all, there are many prophets born on other days and though we remember them as well, it is the birth of Isa (Jesus – PBUH) that is merry. Why? And for whom is this merry? Knowing the answer to these questions will make your Christmas change from being a holiday for others to a day when you marvel at the mercy and goodness of Allah – it will make even the other days in the year much merrier.
The birth of Isa al Masih, born of a virgin and announced by Jibril
Many know that what was unique among all the births in human history, including the births of all the prophets, was that Isa al Masih was born of a virgin. This birth was so important that it was announced to Mary (Mariam) by the archangel Gabriel (Jibril) who, as we know, is only sent with the very most important messages. The Injil records it like this:
God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:26-38)
(You will see that in this announcement by Gabriel (Jibril) he uses the peculiar title ‘Son of God’ Please see here what this term means and does not mean)
The birth of Isa al Masih – prophesied hundreds of years before
The Injil (Gospel) records the birth of Isa al Masih (‘Masih’ means Messiah =’Christ’) but the story did not start there because 700 years before the birth of Isa al Masih the prophet Isaiah of the Zabur had given the unique prophecy (explained fully here) that
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14, ca 700 BC)
The birth of Isa al Masih – prophesied at the beginning of human history
So Allah deliberately planned and announced this birth from the virgin hundreds of years beforehand. There must be an important reason! If we look further into the Holy Books we find even that at the very beginning of human history (!) this birth from a virgin was planned. The Taurat, though addressing the Beginning, also had the End in view. Even in the Paradise of the Garden, at the beginning of human history, when Shaytan (Iblis) successfully seduced Adam & Eve. At that time Allah confronted Shaytan and spoke to him with a riddle:
“… and I (Allah) will put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman and between your offspring and hers. He will crush your head and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
This is a riddle – but it is understandable. Reading carefully you will see that there are five different characters mentioned AND that this is prophetic in that it is looking forward-in-time (seen by the repeated use of ‘will’ as in future tense). The characters are:
- God (or Allah)
- Shaytan (or Iblis)
- The woman
- The offspring of the woman
- The offspring of Satan
Looking at these relationships visually
And the riddle maps out how these characters will relate to each other in the future. Let’s look at the image below:
Allah will arrange that both Shaytan and the woman have an ‘offspring’. There will be ‘enmity’ or hatred between these offspring and between the woman and Shaytan. Shaytan will ‘strike the heel’ of the offspring of the woman while the offspring of the woman will ‘crush the head’ of Shaytan.
Interpreting the riddle
Now let us think about this. Because Genesis calls the ‘offspring’ of the woman ‘he’ and ‘his’, we know that it is a single male human. This means that as a ‘he’ the offspring is not a ‘they’ (i.e. it is not plural). Thus the offspring is NOT a group of people whether that refers to a nation or those of a certain religion as in Jews, Christians or Muslims. As a ‘he’ the offspring is not an ‘it’ (the offspring is a person). This eliminates the interpretation that the offspring is a particular philosophy or teaching or religion. So the offspring is NOT (for example) Christianity or Islam because Genesis would then use ‘it’ to refer to the offspring.
Notice also what is NOT said. Allah does not promise the man an offspring like he promises the woman. This is quite extraordinary, especially given the emphasis on sons coming through fathers through the Taurat, Zabur & Injil (the Bible or al kitab). But in this case, it is different – there is no promise of an offspring (a ‘he’) coming from a man. It says only that there will be offspring coming from the woman, without mentioning a man.
So here we see the first prophecy of the Books, in the form of a riddle to Shaytan, of the coming Virgin Birth because with that perspective, if you read the riddle it all falls into place. Jesus (Isa – PBUH) is the offspring from a woman who is born without the seed of a man – born of a virgin. He will ‘crush the head’ of Shaytan. But who is his enemy, the offspring of Satan? The later prophets speak of a ‘Son of Destruction’, ‘Son of Satan’ and other titles that predict a coming ruler who will oppose ‘the Christ’ (Masih). These prophets speak of a coming clash between this ‘Anti-Christ’ and the Christ (or Masih), resulting in the victory of the Masih.
Isa al Masih – save us from our sins
So great themes of the prophets begin here, and even more can be gleaned in this Sign of Adam, but why should this be Merry for you and me? Since Isa al Masih (PBUH) was not conceived by a man, he was conceived by the power of Allah, and as the Injil records how Gabriel (Jibril) explained this to Joseph, the fiance of Mary (Mariam) when he learned she was pregnant.
Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her (Mary) to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:19-21)
Isa al Masih (PBUH) has the power to save us from our sins! We all sin, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in large ways. And we know that there is a Judgment Day coming when we will all give an account. Isa al Masih (PBUH) has the power to save you and me from our sins. Understanding this will certainly make your Christmas, the day we remember his virgin birth, Merry. And it will also make all the other days of your year Merry as well.
Merry Christmas – Allah’s gift for you
It is a tradition at Christmas that people give gifts to each other. Why? This was done in memory of what Isa al Masih (PBUH) did for us because the Injil declares that he will save us from our sins solely as a gift to us. As the Injil declares.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
This saving from sin is a gift from God – all because of what happened that day when Isa al Masih (PBUH) was born. But like any gift it must be received before it can benefit you. Consider. ‘Knowing’ about a gift, ‘believing’ in the existence of a gift, even ‘looking’ at a gift will not benefit you in any way unless you also receive it. This is why the Injil also declares that:
Yet to all who did receive him (Isa al Masih), to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12-13)
Merry Christmas to you
You probably have many good questions. What does ‘Masih’ mean? How does Isa save us from our sins? What does it mean to receive this gift? Is the Injil reliable? This website is my gift to you to help answer these and other worthwhile questions that you have. I hope you explore and understand more about the good news from the Taurat, Zabur and Injil.
My hope is that you, just as I discovered, may also experience a very Merry Christmas.