2,000 years ago there was a young man growing up near the Sea of Galilee in Israel. This is the one whom we honor at Christmas as the babe in the manger. Until he was 30 years old he lived in obscurity, seeming to be no different than any other child.
The fantastic events (Matthew 1:18-2:23; Luke 1:5-2:38) that surrounded his birth were followed first by exile from Israel and then a return to the land of his birth. From then until he started his public ministry, we know almost nothing about the life of Christ. History records lots of fanciful tales from this period of his life, but these cannot be trusted like the Bible.
One of the reasons that we have such faith in the Bible is because it is accurate in every point that we can verify, which gives us confidence in those points we can’t. The Old Testament book by the prophet Isaiah, written nearly 800 years before Christ, accurately and clearly predicted numerous specific aspects of Christ’s life. For example, Isaiah 7:14 says, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” I’d call that specific! This verse from the Old Testament directly connects with the New Testament passage found in Matthew 1:23. Isaiah also predicted which family and branch of the family Jesus would be part of in 11:1, “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” There are hundreds of such prophecies in the Old Testament that clearly and specifically predict events in Christ’s life.
Isaiah 53 not only tells us that the Messiah would be a child (53:2), but it also gives us specific details regarding how he would be treated by his countrymen; that is, he was despised, not esteemed, stricken, pierced, scourged, oppressed, afflicted, and judged. It also tells us Jesus paid the penalty for our sin when Isaiah wrote, “and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (53:6) Passages like this should give us pause because if it made accurate predictions regarding historical events, then it is surely spiritually correct. Isaiah 53 is so historically accurate that even those who don’t believe the Bible as the inspired Word of God are stumped. They fall silent when they consider the remarkable precision of the description of the treatment of Christ written so many years before it happened.
Let this be a reminder to be confident in the Word of God. Many Christmas traditions have no biblical basis, but you can go to the Bible to discover which ones are factually true.