It’s Christmas, a time of the year when people experience different feelings. Do you remember the last time someone gave you a gift during Christmas? What was the feeling you had? If you remember I believed you felt glad and loved. On the other hand, if you cannot remember I assume that Christmas has been a time when you feel the opposite, right?
It doesn’t matter what category you fit into, Christmas is a celebration that should make all of us feel glad and loved by what God has given us rather than what people have given us or not given us. It’s a celebration that can make all of us feel loved and happy forever. But what is the real meaning of Christmas?
I want to share a story with you that explain what Christmas is about. A story recorded in the book of Matthew 1.18-25. It tells the story of Jesus birth, the greatest gift given by God to all of us for all eternity. But why is Jesus the greatest gift given by God to us? Three are the reasons.
Firstly, Jesus was protected as a gift.
Have you ever asked yourself why gifts are normally wrapped? There are two reasons. One, when gifts are not wrapped, we easily find out what the gift is and all the anticipation and surprise disappear. Two, gifts are better protected when they are wrapped, mainly if the present is made of fragile material.
According to verse 18 and 19 Jesus did not come as a strong man but as fragile baby, a gift that was protected by Mary and Joseph. How do we know that?
Imagine a woman at the age of Mary finding out that she is pregnant but not of her fiancé just a few days before her wedding? What some women today would do? I personally know many women who would have aborted rather than facing the responsibility of protecting the child. However, Mary kept the baby safe, even though she could not understand what was going on.
Joseph also was like a wrap in Jesus life. According to the law of his time, if a man found something shameful about his wife, he would have the right to leave her and she would probably be stoned to death. But he did not want to expose her to public disgrace and have Jesus killed in his mom womb.
What would you do to protect Jesus, God’s gift to the world? Would you be able to defend him? Many today confess the name of Jesus but they abandon him as soon as they face any kind of difficulty.
Secondly, Jesus was promised as a gift.
A long time ago my family decided to go to a shopping centre, during Christmas. At that time my daughter was five years old. As soon as we reached the main entrance she saw Santa Claus asking kids what they wanted for Christmas.
We patiently waited in a queue, for 15 minutes so she could make him a request. As soon as she made her request I asked her, “What did you ask him for Christmas”? She then pointed to a doll in a shop window and said, “I asked him that doll, but I know you are the one who buys it every year, so could you buy it now dad?”
Why did not she believe in the promised of Santa Claus? How can a five-year child doubt the promise of an old man? Maybe she already knew that human beings do not keep their promises very often.
God’s gift to this world was different. He was promised not by Santa, but by God through many of his prophets, including Isaiah who said, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”.
The word Immanuel means God with us. God did not only promised but actually fulfilled it among us. In other words, God was the giver, sender and the gift in itself.
Do you believe in Jesus was God among us? Someone who was promised by God’s prophets many years before his birth? Or do you prefer to believe in human beings the lies?
Thirdly, Jesus was expected as a gift.
Let me share a story with you. When I was a child I used to visit my grandparents who lived by the beach. As I didn’t know how to swim I always played very near the edge of the beach. But one day I saw a beautiful girl swimming far from where I was. In order to impress her I tried to swim towards her but I end up drowning. For a few seconds, the only thing I expected was the possibility of being saved. I was eventually rescued by a coast guard. The girl was not the gift that I expected the coast guard was the one.
We live in a world full of dangerous attractions. Sin is something that maybe seems beautiful and pleasant however it kills us all. The Bible says that we are all sinners who deserve eternal death, hell. We are all in need of a saviour.
Joseph, in verse 25, named the baby Jesus, which means God saves. Jesus was expected by his parents as one who would rescue us from sin. He was a gift sent by God to save us from hell.
Is Jesus your saviour today? Or are you waiting for his second coming in the future? If that is your case let me tell you something. Jesus was born as a saviour in the past but he will come back as a judge in the future. There is no reason to expect his future second coming if you don’t have him as a saviour today.
Jesus is surely God’s greatest gift to this world. There is no reason to reject a present like Jesus. Is Jesus the gift you want for Christmas? If is that what you want say, I am sorry God for rejecting your gift for such a long time, please help me to put my trust and faith in you this Christmas and thank you for sending us your son Jesus Christ to save us.