One of God’s greatest gifts is a healthy baby. On a day, some 2000 years ago there was just such a gift. Not only was this a blessing to mother and father, this was a first gift of Christmas, a greatest gift of love, an everlasting gift to all of mankind. Two people, Joseph and Mary were given a Son. This was not just some child born to a simple set of beggarly parents. No this was a Son like no other. This Son would lead a pure life untarnished by sin. God’s greatest gift, therefore, is not just a child, but the child.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.
This was a heavenly child. This child came directly from the abode of God himself. This
child had another life before He came here. He was conscious of it when He left it, and He was conscious of His meager surroundings when He arrived. This was a child that came from the highest throne imaginable. This child chose to lower Himself to the deepest depths of depravity simply out of love (Philippians 2:7-8).
When we think of love, many think of the scripture,
“greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
We should put this into perspective for Christmas. Jesus spoke of pure personal experience. Jesus had already laid down His life in heaven to come to earth when He spoke these words.
The life in John 15:13 is a word that means great desire, inner spiritual or emotional driving force; it indicates with respect to life, the very spiritual being that is inside each and every one of us. It is not just physical life, for we all desire to continue living. It is the greatest and deepest spiritual desires that man experiences in life. This coupled with the word that we see translated “lay down” can be translated “to bring about” or “to bring upon.” Therefore, the Son of God forsook the heavenly place, His abode for eternity past, and brought upon Himself life in the flesh purely out of His love for this world. He loves us so much He gave up all of the perfect sinlessness in Heaven just to be with us, live a life with us, heal us, serve us and die for us. That is a loving gift.
God also made great promises in this gift. The hope that we feel and see exhibited on any given Christmas day is a hope that everyone knows exists. It is a hope that people all over the world actually have heard tell of – a great promise. It is a hope that is born purely out of the love discussed above. It is a hope given freely by a person but it is only truly provided through faith. Though everyone knows of this hope, and everyone actually hopes for this very thing, few actually receive the actuation of this hope. The hope we are discussing is eternal life.
God’s gift was given out of love for a purpose. The purpose of the gift is to provide a vehicle for a great promise. The promise is eternal life. “the season of perpetual hope,” as it has been called is rightly named. Yet, ironically man routinely denies, or flippantly discusses where this hope came from and the purpose it serves. For man, there is hope that we will see things better if we get something that pleases us under the Christmas tree. We also hope that we give something to someone that they enjoy. The hope then is that we have a better temporal outlook. The hope for most men is truly just something that happens here each year and it has to do with some reciprocal materialistic giving.
The true hope though is otherworldly in origin and purpose. Man seeks this eternal hope, the hope of a wonderful eternal life, and knows it is possible. Every one who celebrates Christmas and sees the great love of God in Christmas knows there is something eternally special about the spiritual condition of our world at this time of year. Something special had to happen to make this hope permeate throughout all of mankind on the planet. It is not just an American holiday. Christmas is celebrated in most major countries around the world. Those who do not celebrate are noticeably humanistic in their overall operation such as China, North Korea, Iran, Turkey and Japan.
The true hope in this season is the purpose of the Christ Child’s birth – to provide an avenue for eternal life for all mankind. This is a hope man has had for thousands of years as Christ Himself said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56). Ladies and gentlemen, the hope for mankind arrived as an infant in Bethlehem, was laid in a manger and the heavens rejoiced (Luke 2:13-14). The proclamation is in verse 14,
on earth peace, good will toward men.
The child, Jesus of Nazareth, brought this peace and good will with Him in the perfect love that permeated His whole being. This is the love of God, the perfect peace, good will toward all men and the hope of eternal life.