A Blessed Christ-centered Christmas to all readers of The Missourian! May the peace and joy which radiates from Bethlehem’s manger fill your hearts and home.

The efforts of those who are again urging our citizens to put Christ into Christmas are to be commended.

Yet in this age of growing skepticism and unbelief it is more important to emphasize “Put God in Christ.” Surveys show that the percentage of the U.S. population self-identified as Christian is rapidly declining. The National Catholic Reporter observed that Christianity is in decline in the West. One survey showed that if the present trend continues the “no-religion” plus the non-Christian categories will outnumber Christians by 2042.

All true Christians particularly at Christmas should make it clear that the Christ who was born in Bethlehem’s manger more than 2,000 years ago is THE MIGHTY GOD Himself, the second person in the Holy Trinity, true God and true man. Christianity is the only religion founded upon fact and real history. All other religions are religions of the law fabricated by man. Christianity alone teaches that a person gets to heaven only by God’s grace, not man’s works. Christ’s birth is an event which happened in the realm ordinary calendar history, not in some mystical realm above and beyond history.

This Christ existed with the Father from the very beginning, as the second person of the Holy Trinity, equal with the Father in every sense. Even after He took upon Himself human flesh He was, and still is, and ever will be, the true God.

Already in the Old Testament there are clear indications that the coming Messiah, the Son of God, is true God. In the third chapter of Exodus the “angel of the Lord,” who in this instance must be the Lord Jesus Himself, is equated with God (Exodus 3:2-6). The psalmist declares that the Son is to be worshipped (Psalm 2:12). Isaiah tells us: “A Child will be born for us, a Son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulder, and He will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Micah prophesied that the coming Messiah was without beginning and without end. “You Bethlehem Ephrathah, too small to be one of Judah’s clans, from you there will come out for Me, One Who is to rule Israel Who comes from eternity” (Micah 5:2). Christ was always there. He did not just come from “ancient times” as many modern translations say.

The angel told the Virgin Mary “the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). At his birth the angels proclaimed the Babe of Bethlehem to be “Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). Christ Himself declared that He is God. He accepted the answer of Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” He added that this knowledge had been given to Peter by His Father in heaven (Matthew 16:13-17). When Christ declared that God was His Father, the Jews understood very well that Christ was not making this statement in the sense that all men have God as their Father. “Then the Jews were all the more eager to kill Him, because He was not only abolishing the Sabbath but even calling God his own Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18).

The Bible repeatedly calls Jesus God: “He is the true God and everlasting life” (1 John 5:20). “Christ Who is God over everything, blessed forever” (Romans 9:5). His resurrection from the dead clearly shows that He is God.

Let us not forget during this Christmas that Bethlehem’s Babe is to be adored by all creatures as their God and Lord. “All should honor the Son as they honor the Father” (John 5:23). Every tongue should confess that Jesus “was God,” was “equal with God” and is “the Lord” Philippians 2:5-11 AAT.

It is my prayer that all readers of The Missourian believe that the Christ of Christmas is the God who gave Himself as a ransom for the sins of all men. Even in the midst of a world filled with grief, heartache, sorrow, and even death in some families, the true Christian enjoys the peace of which the angels sang on that first Christmas night. The Christian has this peace with God because he recognizes that his sins are forgiven. Some readers have suffered the loss of a loved one during the past year. Others will not be able to enjoy a family reunion because a son, daughter, husband or wife is serving our nation in some distant land. May the joy and peace of Christmas nevertheless be theirs. May all of us recognize that one day, through confident faith in Bethlehem’s Babe as our God and Savior, we shall all be united with our loved ones and all Christians before His Heavenly throne. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).