The Christmas Message
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The message of Christmas is the message of John 3:16, and I would add verse 17 as well: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”1
Whoever believes.—That the world might be saved through Him. Salvation is available to all. It’s God’s gift to us in Jesus—God’s Christmas gift to mankind.
While God has given the gift, our commission as Christians is to help deliver it. In Christmastime parlance, we would be looked on like Santa Claus—the person who delivers the gift. It reminds me of something the apostle Paul said. “For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”2
How will they know of the life-changing Christmas gift that’s available to them? How will they hear about it? Who will tell them? Who can be Santa Claus, bringing the most valuable gift ever offered, everlasting life? The answer is all of us Christians. We are those preachers, we are those witnesses, we are those messengers, and at Christmastime we are those Santa Clauses who help deliver the gift.
He left the glory of heaven to come to earth to make salvation available to all. He paid the price so that we could freely receive His gift, and we have received it. We have the riches of everlasting life. There are so many in the world who don’t. The joy of it is that we have the privilege of giving those same riches to others, of passing out the best gift ever given. Of course, it costs us to do so. It takes time, and we have to make the effort to strike up that conversation with a stranger, or to get deeper with some of our friends or co-workers, or to request contributions or collect food or toys or other items for distribution to the needy.
The reason we make these efforts is so that we can offer the gift, because the one who is the gift asks it of us. We love Him. We serve Him. We follow Him. He came for the salvation of the world, and as His disciples we play a role in making Him known to others. We not only have the joy of our own salvation, but we have the extra joy of participating in the salvation of others.
Every effort, small or great, to share God’s greatest gift—Jesus—with others is important, because every effort makes it possible for someone to know Him. It’s a beautiful thing to share this gift with others. “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”3 —Peter Amsterdam
Out of ivory palaces
Into this world—the world of the bleak midwinter—God arrived. Not sheltered from grief or pain, God descended into a world where poverty, violence, and grief were a daily part of God’s human existence in the person of Jesus. …
Out of the ivory palaces, into a world of woe,
Only His great, eternal love, made my Savior go.
Into this world—our world of bleak midwinter—God arrives. God arrives in the midst of pain and suffering, doubt and disappointment, longing and loneliness to make a home with us, to be alongside of us because of “great, eternal love.” The Gospel of John tells us that God did not stay removed from us or from our sufferings, but that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”4 For those who find the Christmas season far from the “most wonderful time of the year,” Immanuel, God with us, comes to be our consolation.
And those who celebrate this season as the most wonderful time of the year can demonstrate its beauty, joy, and celebration by reaching out to those in bleak midwinter, doing our part, giving our all, sharing our hearts.—Margaret Manning5
Christmas is about eternity
Turn on your television or surf the web this Christmas, and you’ll discover all sorts of Christmas messages. But for the One who invented Christmas, there’s only one message that really matters.
God wants to share eternity with you.
That’s what Christmas is all about. You weren’t created just to live 80 or 90 years on Earth and then die. You’re far more valuable than that to God. God has some long-range plans for you. He made you to live forever.
One day your heart will stop. That’ll be the end of your heart, but it won’t be the end of you. You’ll last for eternity—trillions of years! And God wants you to be a part of his family.
He sent Jesus to Earth as a baby so one day he could die for your sins, and then you can spend forever with him.
That’s the great news of Christmas. This offer is available to anyone. The Bible says of Jesus, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”6
God wants to spend eternity with you, so he made the way to him simple: You believe, and you receive. You believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins, and you receive him into your life. God sent his Son to Earth 2,000 years ago to die for you. That’s God’s very first Christmas gift, sent to you thousands of years before you were even born.—Rick Warren7
For many people, Christmas is a happy time of family, fellowship, food, and merry gift giving. Most Christians observe this as a time of added celebration and thanksgiving for the greatest gift ever given, the Lord Jesus Christ, “God with us,”8 so the Christmas season is overflowing with joy and celebration. …
But for others, Christmas is just the exact opposite. It can be an intense reminder of lost loved ones or that they have no close family to celebrate with. Instead of feeling joy, many people feel overwhelming, seemingly unbearable anxiety and depression. Christmas can potentially be a time of hopelessness and loneliness.
Even though some of us may feel lonely or isolated during the Christmas holidays, it’s important for us to remember the hope that Jesus brings. The Incarnation, God becoming a man, is the very reason why we have hope. … Scripture says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”9 This living hope is the hope and promise of eternal life10 through Jesus Christ, “our hope.”11 We have hope because Jesus came as a man, lived, died, and rose again. …
Jesus came in the flesh as a little baby that first Christmas so that He could bear our punishment at the cross, and then conquer death by rising from the dead. ... Someday we can dwell with Him eternally in a place where “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”12 …
Loneliness and depression will be done away with forever. What a blessed hope for us to eagerly look forward to! … Although some of us may not have or may be isolated from our families, those who have placed their faith in Christ are part of God’s family. All around the world we have brothers and sisters in Christ to fellowship with. … Even if we are far away from our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are still never alone. Jesus is right there with us. The Lord promises, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”13 Jesus came to Earth to be our Immanuel, the “God with us” promised in the Old Testament,14 and He is still with us today.15—Avery Foley16
Published on Anchor December 2020. Read by Reuben Ruchevsky. Music from the Rhythm of Christmas album. Used by permission.
2 Romans 10:13–14 NKJV.
3 Romans 10:15 NKJV.
4 John 1:14.
6 John 1:12 NLT.
8 Matthew 1:23.
9 1 Peter 1:3.
10 Titus 1:2.
11 1 Timothy 1:1.
12 Revelation 21:4.
13 Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5.
14 Isaiah 7:14.
15 Galatians 2:20.