Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Reminds Us of Hope!

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. It’s a time of giving, sharing, receiving, and love. All over America and in many places around the world people are doing just that. Children are ecstatic wondering what is they will receive in the brightly packaged gifts and colorful stockings, while Mom and Dad, or Mom or Dad, Grandma or Grandpa, or a caretaker, or someone in authority (whew!)—joyfully watch as they tear the paper to shreds revealing the gift, or hopefully, the hope of their heart. In this is a valid scriptural truth and not to be sneered at that parents know how to give good gifts to their children.

Jesus is well aware of this. In fact, he was quick to reference it in relation to the Father in Heaven being even more gracious than we! He stated, If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11 (ESV) God our Father created us to have emotion. The greatest of them is love. We who have been loved will understand the worth of the sentiment. Therefore, we freely give out that which we have received. If we were to step back a moment and consider the love that fills our hearts for the little ones we are given—by His grace—we can experience and even greater understanding and appreciation for how much God loves those who are His.

In James 1:17 (ESV) we read:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Some of the gifts God bestows to all people (also known as general Grace) are life, breath, hope, the five senses, each other, and a chance to inherit eternal life with Him in heaven. These are all "Good Gifts" of love. It is a sad fact that often these gifts are just taken for granted without giving thanks in return. That alone can be seen at a more devastating level when we consider those who have chosen to reject Him as the one and only true Lord of all life.

Christmas reminds us that a Babe came into the world free of the “Robe of Heavens Royalty” to don the lowly “Swaddling Cloth of humility”. Cradled in the stable manger he was most likely subjected to differing temperatures. Stables were not generally heated in a place like Bethlehem where fuel was scarce and costly. This teaches that He came into the world to not only relate to us as humans, but to experience what we experience. When the cold wind blew it would be Mary that would tuck Him into her breast hiding Him from the effects of the world as she tried to cradle the Savior in warmth. It would be Mary with Joseph her husband, that would lead, teach, feed, and shelter the Lord as He grew into manhood where he would finally don another robe, the robe of rejection that succinctly symbolizes the cruelty that the world can give. It would be these unloving and unruly people who would make up the crowd of persecutors gifting Him with sneers and jeers—shouts of hatred—as He was helplessly led to the cross of salvation.

Christmas reminds us that life begins in a dependent state. No one can come into the world independently. From conception onward, life is embraced through dependence upon another. The womb of Mary was necessary to bring forth the Savior just as the womb of our own mothers was necessary to bring us into the world. But dependency does not end there. Once we see the first light dependency becomes even greater. While in the womb we abide and we grow. Out of the womb we must rely on hope—hope that our mother will feed us, nurture us and keep us clean.

Is spiritual life any different? Once we become a child of God can we make it on our own? Only if works were the answer could we even begin to take a step or draw a breath. But the Scripture teaches differently, doesn’t it?
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Christmas gives us hope. God’s greatest gift to the world was the Lord Jesus Christ! Just as he came into the world in a humble state so we must come into His world in a humble state. We must recognize our dependency is on Him alone for life. He warms our hearts, gives us His life and dons us with His Robe of Righteousness!

Because of this, is it any wonder that the Father would declare His gift to us in the following manner?  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

How many ways can we praise thee oh Lord? For Your works are beyond our imaginations. Your will was to provide redemption for mankind but never could we suppose that a Babe would be the chosen route You would take. Thank you for Jesus! In His name we approach thy throne, amen


Michael (Mike) Henderson said...

This is a test for functionality. Isn't God awesome!!!!!!!!!!