Tis’ the season to celebrate what God has done. While we celebrate that God has given to us by giving to others, let’s not forget why he gave to us.
Let’s not forget why his gift is so good.
God’s gift of his son was so good because Jesus was an ambassador. Jesus was an ambassador to foreigners who did not know him and who were not know by him.
This is why we are taught that both knowing and being known by God is a big deal. We know God by revelation and God knows us by relationship. These were both made possible through the advent of Christ.
Jesus came to make peace where there was no peace. Jesus came to offer a way when there was no way. He came to grant life where there was only death. This is why the gift of God is amazing, this is why the gospel is such good news.
We were at odds with God, with no way into his presence, and he made a way.
This is why Jesus proclaimed when asked about the way to the Father.
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
The awesome gift of God in his Son Jesus was to provide a way to himself.
Paul explains this in detail in Ephesians 2:12-20:
12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
This is a reason to gather as family and as Christians at Christmas. Christ not only brings people together, but he gives his people a reason to gather together. He has made us one, he made a people where there was just many individuals.
14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
He brings us peace, formerly we did not have peace with God, we did not have peace with fellow man. Jesus came not only to grant us peace with himself but to teach us the way of peace with fellow man. This is part of the Christmas spirit, and the Christian message. The angels announce “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2.
Obviously we do not see the culmination of the many benefits of his coming until Easter but without Christmas there would be no Easter. He had to first come and present himself to the world. As the angel tells Joseph as recorded in Mathew 2.
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”’
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
So when we are busy trying to complete our gift lists and make it to the parties and squeeze all the busyness of the Christmas season into a few days, remember why we are doing this. It is similar to that passage where it says we love because he first loved us. Likewise we should remember our giving is because he first gave to us, or at least it is supposed to be.