Celebrate The Ultimate Christmas Gift
There’s a well-known story of a very successful and rich New York businessman who had tragically lost his beloved son, and then several years later he himself died of cancer.
Over the course of his life, the wealthy man had accumulated a vast fortune of expensive, valuable, and rare commodities, which, following his death, were to be auctioned off in an exclusive estate sale.
Knowing of the rich man’s taste in exquisite furniture, fine art, rare coins, Ming vases, vintage cars and the like, hundreds of New York’s elite and high net worth individuals showed up for this auction.
The day began, rather humdrum, with a piece that no one showed any interest in at all. The auctioneer came forward with a cheaply framed picture, saying, “The first piece we’re offering today is this portrait of the man’s only son.”
He paused to give everyone a chance to view it, and then continued, “Do I have a bid?”
The room fell silent, as no one raised their hand to bid on this framed portrait. They had come for some of the ultra-expensive art pieces and unique artifacts, not for something ordinary like that.
The auctioneer stood still, not saying a word – something auctioneers are rarely seen doing – but he could tell by the deadpan faces of the attendees that this wasn’t something anyone really wanted to buy.
Still, he asked once more, “Do I have a bid? Does anyone want this portrait of the man’s son?”
Just then, from the back of the room, an elderly man quietly stepped forward and said, “Sir, for many years I was the servant of the man who died, and if nobody will take the picture of his son, I want to know if I can have it.”
The auctioneer said, “One more time. Is there anyone who will bid on the picture of the son?” Yet nobody did. So he said to the servant, “Yes, sir, the picture is now yours!!”
The elderly servant slowly walked forward to take hold of the portrait. Looking lovingly on the boy’s image, he then tucked it under his arm and headed toward the back of the room delighted.
Then to everyone’s shock, the auctioneer picked up his gavel, banged it down, and said, “The auction is now over.”
Everybody looked around in astonishment, and someone protested loudly, “What? You haven’t brought out any of the expensive pieces that were supposed to be sold today! How is it possible that the auction could be over?”
The auctioneer replied, “Because the father’s will was very specific and stated that the auction was to start with the picture of his son. He valued his son so highly that he stipulated that whoever took his son’s picture would inherit everything.”
The bottom line: Essentially, he who has the son receives everything else. He who does not have the son gets nothing.
1 John 5:11-12 (NKJV) And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Sometimes we are like those buyers at the estate auction. We’re going around looking for everything else to buy, but God is there saying, “I have come to give you life and to give it to you more abundantly. But that life can only be found through My Son. If you have My Son, you have eternal life and all the precious inheritance that goes with it.”
The Bible states this clearly for us in the book of Romans 8 verse 32 where we read, “God who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all things?”
No matter who you are, no matter where you’ve come from, no matter what you’ve done, and no matter what you’re going through… ALL THE GOOD THINGS that the Lord wants to give to you are entirely connected to His Son, Jesus Christ, and what was accomplished by His coming to earth that first Christmas.
“I am not a believer, but I have the utmost respect for Jesus Christ. I believe He was the most influential person who ever lived.”
– Larry King
Colossians 1:12-13 (NIV) Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves!
The ultimate Christmas gift: Jesus through His virgin-birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection obtained for us an eternal salvation, full forgiveness and freedom from the penalties associated with sin – and He also purchased for us a whole lot more (read all about it in Ephesians Chapters 1-3).
Celebrate The Savior’s Birth
What we celebrate at Christmas is not so much the birth of a baby, as important as that is, but what’s so significant about the birth of that particular baby is that in this birth we have the incarnation of God Himself.
That is the essence of Christmas. The baby in the manger was God Himself in the person of His Son. He was deity in a diaper. Heaven came down to earth; eternity was invading time (John 1:1-4, 14).
The Lord of glory and King of the universe had come to be with us (Matthew 1:23), and to save sinners (Matthew 1:21). Consider for a moment the uniqueness of the birth of Jesus…
- His birth was the only birth where the baby had previously existed (John 8:58).
- His birth was the only birth where no earthly father was involved (Luke 1:30-35).
- His birth was the only birth where the mother was a virgin (Luke 1:34).
- His birth was the only birth where God took upon Himself human flesh (John 1:14).
When we speak of the incarnation, we are speaking of an event that took place at a particular point in history, God the Son – the Second Person of the Holy Trinity – took on a human nature without subtracting from Himself any of His divine attributes (John 1:1-14).
Jesus is both fully God and fully human, one person, but with two natures. Jesus is uniquely the God-Man.
Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. When the Second Person of the Godhead became a man God didn’t compromise Himself and change into something lesser than He was. Christ is not a lesser God. Christ is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).
“Jesus was God and man in one person, so that God and man might be happy together again!”
– George Whitefield
Incarnation comes from two Latin words that mean “in the flesh, in a body.” Incarnation is the theological term used to express the doctrine that Jesus Christ is God in a human body. “The Word became flesh” (John 1:14).
Jesus was virgin-born. He was not God and man. He is the God-Man, the “only begotten Son of the Father” (John 1:18). As the God-Man, Jesus is one person with complete yet distinct divine and human natures.
Jesus became no less God when He became human. Mary did not give birth to both God and man. Jesus was not 50 percent human and 50 percent God. Rather, Mary gave birth to the God-Man who was and is both fully God and fully man at the same time.
Jesus is both divine and human, which is why throughout the Gospels Jesus can be called both the Son of God and the Son of Man.
Five Big Facts
At His birth, His incarnation, Jesus became flesh and blood, fully identifying with humanity, without relinquishing any of His divine attributes.
Think about these 5 big truths of the incarnation…
- Jesus was born in Bethlehem to the virgin Mary, fulfilling biblical prophecy (Isaiah 7:14; Matt 1:22-23; Luke 1:26-35).
- Jesus was born without sin because He was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit, avoiding the contamination of sin through a human father (Luke 1:34-35; Romans 5:12).
- Jesus took on human flesh with its frailties and limitations, except for sin (Hebrews 2:14).
- Jesus was no less God when He became a perfect man. He was fully human but sinless (John 1:14).
- Jesus is unique in history because He chose to leave heaven and come to earth as a man to save us and bring us to God… “Christ died for sins once for all, the Righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
Two thousand years ago God sent His best gift, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Jesus is God’s Christmas gift to you.
But you will never experience real salvation, real peace and the blessing of Christmas joy until you personally receive God’s gift – by putting your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9-10, 13).
The result of your faith in Christ as the Savior is peace with God.
Jesus came as Immanuel, “God with us,” in order to reveal God to us. He came as Immanuel for the purpose of making the invisible God visible to mankind (Matthew 1:23; John 10:30; John 14:9).
Should you ever wonder about WHO God is and WHAT He is like, all you have to do is remember Immanuel.
2 Corinthians 9:15 (TLB) Thank God for His Son – His Gift too wonderful for words!
Celebrate The Reason For The Season
One of the clearest statements in all the Bible is 1 Timothy 1:15 “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
Christmas is about the coming of Christ into the world. It’s about the Son of God, who existed eternally with the Father as “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature,” taking on human flesh and becoming the God-Man to rescue and redeem all of us (Hebrews 1:3).
In Christ, God became a man, while continuing to be God.
Christmas is about the virgin birth of a child conceived miraculously by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35), a child born called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
“Christmas is telling you that you could never get to heaven on your own. God had to come to you.”
– Timothy Keller
Jesus was not an ordinary baby. The New Testament makes it clear that Joseph, who was the husband of Mary, was not the biological father of Jesus but His adoptive father (Matthew 1:16).
In fact, this baby was the God of the universe clothed in human flesh. That’s right! Jesus is actually God, in human flesh, who came to this earth because mankind had been separated from Him by their sin.
Jesus said in His mission statement that He came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
In order for Jesus to be our Savior, three conditions had to be met. And the virgin birth guaranteed the fulfillment of these three conditions. This was humanly impossible – it took a divine miracle…
- He had to be HUMAN. No angel could die for our sins. Because He was born of Mary, Jesus was human.
- He had to be DIVINE. A mere mortal could not bear or pay the infinite price that had to be paid for our sins. Because He was supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was Divine.
- He had to be SINLESS. A sinner could not die for other sinners! Because He was born holy, without any trace of sin, Jesus was qualified to be our Savior.
With a normal birth, the seed of the sin nature comes through the father. Yet as we know, Jesus was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:30-35) and not by a human father – so He did not receive the sin nature and lived a completely sinless life.
That made Him the perfect substitutionary sacrifice for us on the cross – the only payment that would ever satisfy a Holy God.
Jesus became a man so that He could redeem and rescue fallen mankind, and reconcile us with God.
1 John 4:14 (NLT) The Father sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.
Jesus came down to where we are so we could go eternally to where He is.
The Promise of Christmas
Christmas is about the coming of the Messiah, the anointed one, a shoot from the stem of Jesse, a Son of David, a King (Isaiah 11:1-4; Zechariah 9:9), in whom “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9). And, according to Mark 10:45, Christmas is about the coming of the Son of Man who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
Sin is humanity’s biggest problem, and Jesus came to solve that problem.
Matthew 1:21 (ESV) “She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
The name Jesus is a transliteration of the Hebrew name Joshua, which means “The Lord saves.” His very name, Jesus, specifically reveals the purpose for which He came from heaven to earth – to “save His people from their sins.” Jesus came for the purpose of saving you and me from our sins.
All the problems in this world can be traced back to sin, and the Son of God came to save you from your sins because you couldn’t save yourself.
Jesus Christ entered the world to deliver us from our sins, forgive us for our sins, give us victory over our sins, and give us an eternal home in heaven forever free from sin. That truth is what Christmas is all about. If you miss that, you’ve missed the point.
1 Timothy 2:5 (AMP) For there is only one God, and only one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.
This is the gospel that the New Testament teaches: Christ, fully God, became man for our salvation, died on the cross for our sins, and was raised from the dead. Embrace this and you will be saved!
Jesus came at Christmas in order to rescue us from eternal damnation – that’s why He left heaven and came to earth. He came that we might have abundant and eternal life. “I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Christmas is about the greatest of all miracles – the Lord coming to earth as a human being to be our savior, rescuer, and deliverer – and it offers to the world the greatest of all gifts, eternal life.
John 3:16-17 (NIV) For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.
The words of an angel in Luke 2:10-11 proclaimed, “Fear not, for I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Notice the Bible specifically says that Jesus came for you… “unto you.”
He came for you. Do you believe that?
This is where Christmas becomes intensely personal. It’s not enough to say you believe that Jesus came. Millions of people say that and are still lost in their sins. It’s not enough to say Jesus came for the whole world.
You can never be saved until you believe and say, “Jesus came for me. He died for me. He rose from the dead for me. And I receive Him now as my Lord and my Savior.”
“The very purpose of Christ’s coming into the world was that He might offer up His life as a sacrifice for the sins of men. He came to die for us. This is the heart of Christmas!”
– Billy Graham
Christmas is really all about Christ. And, primarily, Christ alone! Not only is He the center of the nativity scene, He is the center of world history. His unique birth divided all of human history into “before” and “after” Christ. And, if you don’t believe this, just think about it at the end of this month when you change your calendar. His unique birth points the way for all men and women to see that the road to our salvation is through Him.
John 20:31 (NKJV) These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
Why not put your trust in Him as your Savior today? God guarantees, “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
“O Come Let Us Adore Him”
The best among us are still rebels in need of God’s mercy and grace! We need salvation, not reformation.
We need new life, not turning over a new leaf. We need forgiveness, not lectures on morality. We can’t live a good enough life to make up for our sins, because God’s standard isn’t just “good enough” – it’s 100 percent perfection.
You aren’t good enough to save yourself from sin and guilt. You need a Savior, and because of the virgin-born babe of Bethlehem, you have one (Luke 2:11).
Regardless of your background, religion, politics, problems, or circumstances, Christmas really is the best news you could get. The blessing and promise of Christmas is this: We have a Savior and His name is Jesus.
Will you receive Jesus Christ right now and trust in Him alone for forgiveness and eternal life? The Bible says that is the only way to find peace with God. “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
How will YOU make the most of Christmas? For some it is all about decorating the house or tree, getting that special gift, baking cookies, seeing relatives, or getting invited to that certain someone’s party. But for the born-again believer making the most of Christmas means to celebrate the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing grace above all other things this holiday season.
Let’s boldly proclaim it, shout it out and sing it – “Joy to the world, the Lord has come!”