What do you instinctively think when someone says the word “Christmas”? The world thinks of the lights, the decorations, the carols, presents, “jolly old Saint Nick” and his reindeer. Maybe some would think of the manger scene with Jesus as a baby in a manger filled with straw.
But Christmas is more than just a baby in a manger, heralded by angels, and worshiped by shepherds and wise men. Jesus, as Eternal God, humbled Himself, choosing to take on human form. He lived a life that we could not—one so wholly in tune with His Father’s will that He never deviated from it. He was without sin so that He could one day die on a Roman cross. He became the sinless, perfect sacrifice that would satisfy God’s wrath and judgment on us for our sin. That is so amazing and truly wonderful in itself. However, I would like to dig deeper, to see a new facet of the incarnation of Jesus.
Imagine that it is Christmas morning. The kids are all excited to open their presents. You are too, if truth be told. There’s something for you to open. Maybe you already know what it is; maybe you don’t. But there’s no way to use your gift, it is of no practical value until you actually open it.
I remember one year, I was hoping for a diamond. Nothing extravagant, just something that would tell the world that I was getting married! That didn’t happen until two months later, but when Andy did propose, I enjoyed looking at that ring. And to be honest, the best lighting was at church. I really WAS listening, but I also enjoyed looking at that diamond, turning it and seeing it sparkle, the different facets catching the light in different ways, making it more precious.
So what then, should it mean to us that Jesus is God’s gift to us? It’s easy for us, especially at Christmas, to see it as a single-faceted gift. 1 John 4:14 tells us that “the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.” And we rightfully rejoice in that. But so often in our daily lives, we lose sight of the fact that there is so much more to the gift. Let’s look at Ephesians 1:3-23. I want you to notice all we have in Christ and all the extravagant words–how much God’s grace just overflows to us.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
How rich these words are! What richness and abundance that God has for us! The spiritual blessing God has in store for those who are His own. Not that we don’t ever have trouble, because here on this earth, our lives are still marred by the effects of sin. But even in that, those trials are gifts to us. They show us that we can’t live life in our own strength. They open our eyes to Who Christ is. They cause us to grow more like Him and less like the world. Because in Christ, we are:
- Chosen in Jesus for God’s purposes and glory
- Adopted into God’s family
- Redeemed and forgiven
- Given an inheritance
- Hopeful in Christ
- Sealed by the Holy Spirit Who guarantees our inheritance
- Given wisdom, knowledge, understanding
- Shown the immeasurable greatness of His power.
Next time, we’ll look more closely at Christ–Who He is, and what it means for us that He is God’s gift to us. In the meantime, immerse yourself in the above passage. Let God’s Word reverberate in your soul, and reflect on how this relates to Christmas.