In the beginning, God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day in the Garden of Eden. They enjoyed the intimate presence of God until one day, they chose to eat the fruit of one forbidden tree. After they ate the fruit, they heard God walking in the Garden and calling them. They hid from God’s presence. They were ashamed of their nakedness.
I’ve been ashamed … words I wish I could take back, thoughts I shouldn’t have entertained, actions I took that hurt others. I’ve wanted to withdraw and hide.
Yet, God did not want Adam and Eve to hide from Him. He caused them to confess what they did. Then He explained the consequences of their actions: cursed ground, hard labor, pain in childbirth, discord between themselves, dismissal from the Garden of Eden, eventual death, and separation from the presence of God.
But God was gracious. God covered their guilt with animal skins, the first sacrifice, but it only covered the sin.
There was hope that day. God told Satan that there would be hatred between Satan and the woman and her seed (a reference to the virgin birth, since the man fertilizes the egg with his seed) and Satan’s seed. The Messiah would bruise Satan’s head (Satan’s power), and Satan would bruise Jesus’ heel (the cross). Genesis 3:15
Centuries later, God revealed His promise of the Messiah again, but with more information.
Behold, a virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel [God with us]. Isaiah 7:14
At a time when Ahaz, king of Judah, feared that Syria and the Northern Kingdom would attack, God sent Isaiah to Ahaz to give him a wonderful promise of hope – hope for the nation in the near future; in 12-13 years, the two kings of Syria and the Northern Kingdom would be conquered. The coming Messiah is the far future prophecy.
The promise of hope remains true today. In the midst of trials or danger, God is with us, and He is in control.
In the fullness of time, God gave the world “His only begotten Son that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Almighty God shed His glory in heaven to enter the womb of a young virgin. God became flesh and lived among the Israelites. Jesus taught in the synagogues, in the homes of tax collectors, on mountainsides, on boats, and down the streets as people followed Him. He healed the sick, touched the lepers, gave sight to the blind, restored hearing to the deaf, raised the dead, calmed the sea, fed the 5,000, and much more.
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. John 1:4
Jesus became flesh to live the perfect life, to reflect the Father in Heaven, to show the Way, and to become the perfect Sacrifice. Jesus came to take your sins and my sins upon Himself and pay the price for those sins … death. Jesus was nailed to the cross as payment for our sins … death. The price for your sins is paid in full. Jesus paid it all.
Why? Jesus will clothe you in garments of salvation, so that you can live with Him forever … God with us.
This is the gift of Christmas. This is the gift of God … God with us forever through the sacrifice of Jesus.
Will you receive this gift?
It’s free, and, yet, it costs you everything. Surrender your life to Jesus, and He will be with you, and you will be in Him, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27b
Father, thank You for loving the world so much that You gave Your only begotten Son to live and die as the perfect sacrifice to pay for our sins, so that we could live with Him forever. We surrender our lives to You. What hope we have in You! Immanuel, thank You! Amen.
Please share what Christmas means to you in the Comment Section.
Wishing you a blessed Christmas filled with joy.
Jesus is the light of the world. He who follows Jesus will not walk in the darkness but in the Light of the life. John 8:12
May you walk in the Light of the world and in the Light of Jesus’ presence as you contemplate upon the gift of Jesus this Christmas.
Every good thing given 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. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. James 1:17-18
If I can only climb high enough on the rocks, I can bask in the warmth of the sunlight.
The sun is moving. Better climb a little higher. There!
The higher I get, the warmer and brighter the light. Mmmm. That feels good!
Ever feel like Mr. Gecko in your relationship with God?
I scramble through challenges to get to a higher level in my relationship with God, and I’m basking in His warmth, then He moves, or maybe I move, and I have to climb to a higher location.
That’s how God led the Israelites through the desert. He covered them from the heat in the day with a cloud and warmed them at night with a pillar of fire. When the cloud moved, it was time for the Israelites to pack up camp and move. All the while, God provided the perfect food for them, mana, a honey-like wafer, the perfect gift for them and a symbol of the Firstfruit to come, Jesus, the Bread of Life.
Matthew Henry writes:
The end and design of God’s giving renewing grace is here laid down: That we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures-that we should be God’s portion and treasure, and a more peculiar property to him, as the first-fruits were; and that we should become holy to the Lord, as the first-fruits were consecrated to him. Christ is the first-fruits of Christians, Christians are the first-fruits of creatures.
Mr. Gecko had a lot to say to me that day. He climbed the steep rocks, reached the light, and rested in its warmth, until the sun moved, and it was time to climb again.
Physical effort and rest.
Physical effort and restful waiting for the Son’s guidance.
Father of lights, thank You for the lessons You have placed in nature and in Your Word. They are sweet glimpses into heaven. Bless Your children with every good thing that You have given and every perfect gift that we should be a kind of firstfruits that point others to Jesus. We love You, Lord, and want to bask in Your Son’s Light.
Share how you bask in the Son’s Light
And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Luke 12:25-31
I often walk to meetings about 1/4 mile away from my office. There’s a vacant lot that burst forth in vivid color this spring, and the flowers are still blooming in December. Weeds have grown up among the wildflowers, and, yet, the flowers lift their faces to the sun for warmth and nourishment.
In this hustle-bustle season, it’s easy to let the weeds of the season pop up around us. We scurry from one department store to the next to buy gifts for people who will return them after Christmas. We bake treats that add pounds that we’ll work hard to remove after the New Year. We write newsy letters to people we haven’t spoken to all year. We decorate our homes and offices; several weeks later, we pack the decorations into boxes to store for the next season. We sing Santa and reindeer songs. We fill our calendars with parties and gatherings.
We wish “Happy Holidays” to everyone and “Merry Christmas” to a select few. We attend church services and children’s plays.
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.
Consider Jesus. What if we took time to lift our faces towards Jesus in the midst of the weeds of the season to let the Son kiss us with His warmth and nourishment?
What if we trusted that if we sought His kingdom and the true meaning of His gift to the world?
Could all these things be added — with a beauty and splendor that befits the King we serve?
Father, this is a season that is filled with tradition, festivities, demands. Sometimes, we drive ourselves into exhaustion. Holy Spirit, give us wisdom as we prepare our homes, our families, and our festivities and prompt us to lift our faces toward Jesus … to wait upon Him in the beauty of His holiness. Thank you, Jesus, for Your gift, You gave it all for us. You have brought Joy to the world!