A miracle is defined as an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause. Such an effect or event manifesting itself is considered to be a work of God. For the young virgin girl, Mary, to be found with child is clearly a miracle. The personal announcement to Mary and Joseph by the angel, Gabriel, is clearly a miracle. The birth of Jesus in the Bethlehem manger then follows as the culmination of several previous miracles, resulting in the most powerful day of recognition by most of the world’s population—Christmas Day.
The event of Balaam’s talking donkey in Numbers is a miracle, and Balaam talking back to the donkey is, well, not a miracle, but it does place Balaam on the same level as his donkey. Balaam, now, will be used by God as a “donkey” as oracles of God will come from his mouth just as words came from the donkey’s mouth. In the fourth oracle, Balaam prophecies that “a star will come out of Jacob” (Num. 24:17, NIV). For God to speak through Balaam is no less of a miracle than the ass talking back to his master. The miracle of the oracle sets on the biblical page a visual of what will occur thousands of years later when wise men from the east follow a star to Bethlehem Ephrathah.
Daniel’s visit with the angel Gabriel is a miracle. At the end of Daniel’s prayer, Gabriel comes to him in swift flight and announces that Daniel’s prayers have been heard and acted upon. Gabriel gives understanding to Daniel to know when the Anointed One will come, using a timeline of “sevens” beginning with the issuing of the decree. This time-related prophecy by Gabriel is indeed a miracle and, according to some methods of dating ancient history, lands on the year 2 BC—which corresponds with the timeframe the wise men would later give Herod for when they first saw the star. Isaiah spoke of this coming star as well when he wrote, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light as dawned” (Isa. 9:2, NIV). And then Isaiah explains, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders” (Isa. 9:6, NIV). Who is this child but none other than the one spoken of two chapters earlier? “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14, NIV).
Micah is bearer of yet another miracle of Christmas as he writes God’s own words. He writes, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Mic. 5:2, NIV). This is the Bethlehem of Judea, the Bethlehem of Ruth, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, and David. This is where the root springs up from the stump of Jesse, where the star of David will appear. This is the house of bread delivering the bread of life. A miracle is going to happen in Bethlehem, and he who feeds on this bread will never die.
All nations will bow to this Savior, and we know this will take place. But, in fact, this has already taken place through a miracle in the town of Bethlehem on Christmas night. Wise men and kings from the east came having followed the star of Jacob for two years. These men, each possibly a descendent of Tarshish, Sheba, and Seba (see Ps. 72) bring gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh—each gift speaking to the babe’s destiny. There is no happenchance here… these men in turn are representative descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, who are the fathers of all and of every nation on earth. God would have it no other way. Attendance to this birthday party was orchestrated by God himself, using angels to speak and direct and counsel—miracles were in abundance on Christmas Day, and rightly so, for the King of glory left heaven’s throne and descended to common man on mortal earth and displayed Himself in a wooden crib reminiscent, as God would have it, of Noah’s wooden ark.
Creatures are watching, for they have been beckoned by their Creator as no room in the inn was found. Kings of the earth display gifts for the King of kings. Shepherds pay homage to the chief Shepherd and Master after hearing the joyful announcement through the splendid angelic chorus…and that with a front row seat! The star of Jacob lights the entire birthday event. No internet, no Twitter…just God’s amazing demonstration and the convergence of miracles on display, designed to introduce His Son and our Savior on Christmas Day!