Reading through the entire Bible in 2011 and spending months rehearsing Handel's Messiah has made this Christmas - this celebration of the birth of Jesus - so exciting and meaningful to me.
In one year, I've read the entire history of the Jewish people and I've seen that God consistently pointed to the future when the Messiah, the Savior of all mankind, would enter the world.
I didn't keep track as I was reading, but through research, I've found that there are hundreds of Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament. These prophecies describe such a unique birth, life, death and resurrection that it seemed impossible to the Jewish people that one man could fit that description.
This is a chart I found that does a great job of listing prophecies made in the Old Testament and where they are fulfilled in the New Testament.
I don't think in terms of math, but even I understand this example (found at http://www.godlygames.com/biblebread/messiah1.htm):
Can I give you an example of the odds that ONE man could fulfill 8 messianic prophecies by chance? (Jesus fulfilled at least 48 of them).
The odds of any one man fulfilling 8 messianic prophecies is 1 chance in 10 to the 17th power. That is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. The probability is taken from Peter Stoner in "Science Speaks".
Now...let me give you an example of the magnitude of this chance!
Suppose you take that staggering number of silver dollars and laid them on the face of Texas.
They would cover the entire state 2 feet deep!
Now...mark ONE of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly. Blindfold a man and tell him he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up ONE silver dollar and say that this one has to be the correct one. what are his chances of doing this??? The same chance that the prophets had in writing only EIGHT prophecies and having all 8 fulfilled by ONE man!! (yet they wrote 48 that were fulfilled by Jesus!)
Why is this Christmas meaningful? At one point in history, God intervened in the fate the world and sent a Savior for all people throughout history.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14