Several years ago our family lived, for a short time, in Darfur, Sudan because of an ongoing humanitarian crisis there. We set up a base in a small town and I traveled by helicopter, with a team of four others, back and forth out into the desert, so that we could help refugees in a remote area. We had free medical clinics, taught health lessons and our compound was known by everyone throughout that area.

On one night a Muslim man named David came to our compound and asked to speak to me. He had heard me talking about Jesus in the refugee camp and had some questions, but while we spoke, one of my team members came over and reminded me that it was time for our weekly church gathering around the fire. I apologized to David, and invited him to join in.

African nights are magical and we sat around a fire, out in the Sahara Desert, a hundred miles from cars or electric lights or the bustle of civilization. We sang several songs, we prayed and then the rest of the team asked me to tell a Bible story, as was our custom. I hadn’t prepared anything and, as I took a breath and looked up at the millions of stars, I saw one twinkle and decided to tell the Christmas story.

The main point of Christmas is that God sent a savior, just as the angels announced to the shepherds, but I backed up to the very beginning to lay the foundation as to why God sent a savior. I told the story of Adam and Eve, of their disobedience, their banishment from the Garden of Eden and humankind’s subsequent separation from God because of sin. And I told about the prophets that came, hundreds of years before Jesus, predicting his birth and glorifying his name with terms like, “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Everlasting Father,” and “Prince of Peace.” I paused to ask, “How is it possible for a  prophet, that believes in only one god, to predict that a child would be born who would be called ‘God?’”

I restarted the story and was another minute into it when David raised his hand to ask a question. “Are you saying that all of these things were said about Jesus hundreds of years before he was born?” he asked. And when I told him that that was the case, he lowered his head in thought while I told about the angel visiting Mary, the child being placed in a manger, the angels and shepherds, and the wise men. As I neared the end of the story, David raised his hand again and made an announcement to the group. “I believe everything that I have heard,” he said, “and I now consider myself a disciple of Jesus.”

Main point: After he rose from the dead, Jesus directed his disciples to look at the messianic prophecies to better grasp who he was and why he came.

So what: The prophecies are proof that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins. Read through the prophecies about Jesus this Christmas and marvel at the love of our Father.