By Retired Creston Seventh-day Adventist Church Pastor, Ian Cotton
Christmas is about love and togetherness. As Christmas approaches, our thoughts turn to giving “gifts”, and who to give them to.
We think of our parents, our children, other family members, and friends. And, sadly, for many people that is the reason for the season. The rampant commercialism that society seems to be caught up in does not reflect the true meaning. Christmas should remind us of God, the Creator of all things and the One who gave the world the greatest “Gift”, Jesus.
There is no exclusivity with God. He created all mankind. That makes us all His children and thus, we are brothers and sisters. He desires that we all know Jesus as our personal Saviour so that we can become “children of God” and heirs of salvation. But that is a personal choice we make in response to the “Gift”. He gave the world.
Certainly, Jesus was not born on December 25. Most likely it was in the Fall of the year. And, as the Bible is quiet about the date of His birth, God obviously thought it unimportant for us to know. What is important is that Jesus came and lived a perfect, sin-free life, and because he came the first time, He will come back again a second time for salvation, according to Hebrews 9:28.
We sing Christmas carols and our hearts are lifted heavenward. We go to church to praise and thank God for His incredible “Gift,” Jesus, Immanuel, God made flesh.
In “The Desire of Ages,” I read: ‘The Bible tells us that “His name shall be called Immanuel… God with us.” “The light of the knowledge of the glory of God” is seen “in the face of Jesus Christ.” From the days of eternity the Lord Jesus Christ was one with the Father; He was “the image of God,” “the outshining of His glory.” It was to manifest this glory that He came to our world. To this sin-darkened earth He came to reveal the light of God’s love, to be “God with us.” Therefore it was prophesied of Him, “His name shall be called Immanuel.”’
Have you ever really thought about what that means? Our God, the Creator and Maker of all things, the LORD who appeared to Abraham in Genesis 18, and was the One born in Bethlehem so long ago.
This was no created being, but One who was God. “In the Beginning was the Word … and the Word was God … the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” God gave His best, His equal, as a “Gift” to us.
By coming to dwell with us, Jesus was to reveal God both to men and to angels. He was the Word of God, God’s thought made audible.
Rather than focusing on “gifts “ from family and friends, we should really be seeking God’s “gift” of the Holy Spirit in our lives day by day and enjoying the blessings that are so freely offered to all who will believe.
The greatest “Gift” that we can possibly receive is “Our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ” through Whom He also gave us the “gift” of eternal life. This is freely offered to all those who believe and repent – turn from their sins. They will receive eternal life.
The greatest “gift” we can possibly give is to tell others of God’s wonderful love and invitation.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” JOHN 3:16
What an offer! What a “Gift”!
The “Greatest Giver” has given us the “Greatest Gift.” If you have not yet received this “Gift”, take a moment to do so in the quietness of your heart and then go out and invite others to do the same.