As we wake tomorrow, most of us will rip into the presents that await us under the tree. It is a fun and exciting day, one in which witnessing the joy of the children has replaced my own personal wants for presents. However, even among all of the commercialism that is Christmastime, it is imperative we focus on what the season is all about.
Did you know that we exchange presents as a symbol for the ultimate present that God has given us in Jesus Christ? I didn't until tonight. It made me wonder about the entire nativity scene and the amazing God we have. How easy it would be to discuss the coming of a savior in the grandeur and splendor that was due to him. Who could have blamed God for wanting to spoil is child, who left the perfection of heaven to take human for among us? He could have been born in the finest hospital to the best doctors...instead, he was born among the livestock in a manger. Thinking about the entire life and ministry of Jesus, it just begs the question, "why?"
Why would our God, who created all things, place his only Son in squalor, to an unmarried virgin woman who would become the object of doubt by her betrothed and gossip to her town? Why would our God send his Son, His PERFECT SINLESS Son, to Earth to take on our sin and to die like the worst criminal of His time?
The answer is as easy to understand as it is to accept: Because He loves us, and because it is the only way He could bring us to Him. Had He done it any other way, the story would have lost something and perhaps the focus would have been moved away from His grace and love for us to something else. It is just amazing that He loves us so much. One of my favorite songs has the line, "You know the depths of my heart, yet You love me just the same". Meditate on that. God knows the ugliest, most depraved depths of our hearts, and loves us anyway. That is awesome to think about.
Whether you get what was on your Christmas list, or not - remember, we've already been given the greatest gift of all.
The Birth of Jesus 1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels 8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.