And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:10-11 (ESV)
How do you celebrate Christmas? Decorations, lights, a tree, special foods and candies… I’m sure all of these play a part. But for most of us the climax of the Christmas celebration is the time of exchanging gifts. Yet for many, this time causes anxiety. We hope we got them a gift that they like. We want to give good gifts.
Perhaps we should look at the very first Christmas, Christ’s birthday, to see what kind of gift God gave in Christ and consider how it affects the kind of gifts we give. When God gave us Christ…
- It was a relational gift. The angel told the shepherds that Jesus had been born “unto you.” God didn’t send money or a card. He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus. The Father gave the Son to us, so that we might become His children too. Christ is a relational gift to us.
- It was a sacrificial gift. The angel said that the baby was born to be “Savior.” God sent His Son to die in our place. Kings are born in palaces, but lambs are born in a manger. This baby was born to be the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.
- It was an incarnational gift. The angel announced that the one being born was “Christ the Lord.” The title, “Christ,” means “Anointed One.” It is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew title, “Messiah.” Jesus was born as a fulfillment to over 300 Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah who would come in the lineage of David to lead God’s people. The title, “Lord,” is to say that He is God. He is both God and man. Jesus is God in the flesh.
When we receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, we are adopted into God’s family and become children of God. As children of God, we can let Christ empower us to give as He did.
We can give relationally. Spend time with others, especially those who are lonely. Show them love and make them feel like family. Give the gift of your self.
We can give sacrificially. Cut back on spending on yourself and your own family to make margin for giving to others. Give to your church, especially to ministries that will carry the “good news” of Jesus to others. Give to a hurting family in your neighborhood or church that is out of work and won’t have Christmas without help. Cook a meal. Bake a cake. Make a craft. Give sacrificially.
We can give incarnationally. Give people far from God the gift of the gospel. Tell them about what Jesus has done for you. Live before them in such a way that they see how Jesus lives in you. We can give good gifts this Christmas that point to Jesus.