The original Christmas story begins with the promise from an angel that Mary would become the earthly mother of Jesus. This is significant because Jesus was and is God’s gift to us, one needing to be unwrapped, and therefore appreciated, by every person. He is not just God’s gift to the world but to every individual. Here’s three reasons why He becomes everyone’s best Christmas gift.
1. God’s gift changes anyone’s whole life.
The ‘only -begotten Son’ who was given to save the world (John 3:16) was the only earthly representative of His Father, the only one who ever came as God among us.
If Heaven is truly perfect, then logic demands that we have no entitlement to belong there. We who are imperfect must be judged by God and thus excluded, if He is indeed just. Of course, if the price is paid for our every wrongdoing, or sin, in this life then the equation changes. We needed one who did not need to die for Himself and who could therefore die for us. The one who was perfect had to be God to qualify, but Jesus also had to be human to be a like-for-like substitute. This kind of ‘atonement’ by one who was both God and human coming to our world is not just one redemptive theory, but the substance of the only means by which we can live eternally.
All those euphemisms about golfers dying and playing the great course in the sky, or of larrikins charming the angels at a party in Heaven, serve to assuage the grief of those who suffer loss. They neglect the truth, though, that it is only through Jesus that we can enjoy peace in eternity.
That’s why God’s gift must be the substitutionary sacrifice of His own Son and why accepting it necessitates personal dependence upon, and devotion to, Christ as Lord. We are ultimately nothing on our own. With Him, though, we live in the light of eternity and its power to change earth through us. Have you responded to God’s gift, though, before contemplating its importance for others?
God gives the only Christmas gift that really matters.
2. God’s gift comes through ordinary people like you and me.
Mary was the bearer of God’s gift to people who needed it. We bear it today.
Some mistakenly depict Mary as a sinless bridge to God. If that was true, she would have had no need to declare God as her own saviour in Luke 1:47. She was an ordinary woman who went on to have other children as Matthew 1:25 clearly shows. If she had mediated between people and God, then 1 Timothy 2:5 would lie in its declaration that Jesus alone can perform this role. Mary is simply not the queen of Heaven or the mother of God, as some would venerate her.
Mary was special only in the sense that she, an ordinary and sinful being in need of God like you and me, was chosen to carry His gift to the world. In a sense, she inspires us to adopt a similar role today. We who are in need of God’s saving grace are not permitted to enjoy its eternal benefit without also serving Christ and bearing witness to the Good News of God’s redemption. We carry the message of God’s gift to all people whose eternal destiny depends on their response to it.
Ordinary people like us are called to bring an extraordinary message.
3. God’s gift urges people to believe.
Mary asked the question as to how she could possibly carry the Messiah. The answer was that nothing is impossible with God. Her ready acceptance of this demonstrated an exemplary faith that models our need to believe today that, with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
This is not a blank cheque for us to presume we can have anything we please. On the contrary, we must ask according to God’s will (1 John 5:14). True faith embraces His will which is grounded in His Word (Romans 10:17). What does His Word reveal to us today? What is God revealing to you? What is He saying will come to pass that you can therefore believe with confidence (Romans 4:21)? Without faith, after all, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
God calls us to the kind of believing that demonstrates we are truly His children.
Our life with God is not only dependent upon accepting Jesus, but also walking with Him in confident knowledge and acceptance of His will, whether that is a specific impulse to respond in a particular way or whether it is in embracing Christian values in obedience to His radical call.
Living as a Christian is not living for self. We embrace hope that shines outwardly that we might bring His light to a dark world and therefore, as Philippians 2:15 says, shine like the stars. Our own lives become a Christmas star to people in need of direction and change, looking to Him only as they first see Him in us.
How could you respond to God’s Christmas gift this year?