Christmas is a time when most people give gifts or, perhaps it would be more accurate to state, exchange presents. Unfortunately, a significant number of people, due to material or relational poverty, do not receive gifts. But at Christmastime we can remember, and respond to, the fact that God has given a gift to this world, that excludes no one, is beyond price and meets everyone’s greatest need.
As God looks upon mankind, He does not see a glorious picture of people who love Him and love their neighbour. The general scene is of a people who have abandoned Him and sought to live independent of Him. Instead of looking to God for wisdom and direction, mankind makes their own rules, which vary according to time and culture. This is not a new development but something that has marked this world for millennia.
Having been created to enjoy a relationship with God and to show some of His characteristics, mankind’s forsaking of God is not without consequences. Some of these are presently seen, in the sorrow and suffering that we all experience. Although God does have every right to execute His final judgement on this world at any time, He has not done that yet.
Although we are not as bad as we could be and undoubtedly something of the image of God can be seen in those who live in rebellion against Him, we do all fall short of being what we were designed to be and there is a coming punishment for all individuals who live apart from God. But the great news is that, by God’s amazing grace, salvation is possible.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).
Two thousand years ago God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into this world. The One who was, and is, God became a man and dwelt here. He came not to condemn this world but to provide and secure salvation.
The very name “Jesus” means “Jehovah is salvation” or “Jehovah, the Saviour”, and it was God’s name for the child as it reflected His mission. God came to earth to save people from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin, and eventually from the very presence of sin.
Although we, ourselves, can do nothing to avoid the coming condemnation, heaven has sent a Saviour. Because Jesus bore the punishment for sin on the cross, every individual who repents of their sin, confesses Him as Lord and trusts Him as their Saviour can know and enjoy God’s eternal salvation.
God has sent His Son so that you might be saved. He is a gift of infinite value and meets your ultimate need. The great question is: “How will you respond to heaven’s gift?”
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
“How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.”
(From the carol O Little town of Bethlehem – Phillips Brooks)
Photo Credit: Kari Shea