The weeks leading up to Christmas are busy. Wrapping up school before the break begins, winding down projects at work, or beginning the always insane shopping season for gifts are just starters. In the quiet before sleep at the end of a crazy day I want to contemplate the greatest gift ever given since we are in the middle of this giving season. Personally that might be the gift my wife gave me at Christmas years ago, a copy of Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss, as way of telling me we would be parents for the first time eight months from that Christmas season. While memorable it is not the greatest gift ever. There is something greater than that gift. It is a gift even more personal, more lasting, and more amazing. I am reminded of this gift in a powerful way by the classic carol Hark the herald angels sing…
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
I am hit by the words “God and sinners reconciled” and I realize that line sums up the greatest gift ever given from one person to another. God the Creator wraps Himself up in the flesh of a man, humbling Himself as a servant, to reconcile Himself to His Creation. Yes you heard that right. God became a man, Jesus, to reconcile you and me to Himself.
Satan called Jesus the “Son of God”
The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Matthew 4:3 ESV
Jesus called God his Father.
In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. John 5:17-18 ESV
It is this claim that got him killed.
The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” John 19:7 ESV
How is it that Jesus, whom we celebrate in the Christmas season reconciles God and sinners? Because Jesus is God in flesh giving Himself up in our place. We have rebelled and run from God. God’s perfect love provided a way to reconcile what God’s perfect judgment had condemned. As a gift God provided Himself as punishment on our behalf.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. John 5:24 ESV
That is right, God’s gift of Jesus once accepted is reconciliation which is life itself. I have accepted Jesus and therefore the gift made me, a dead man, alive. Have you accepted this gift? We celebrate this gift every year as the most joyous time of the year for good reason. Do not reject, leave unopened, or ignore the greatest gift ever given.