By Arch Hoercher
The Holiday Season is upon us. It is not just upon us but it is here! Turkey and dressing and Deck the Halls and all that other stuff. It is here. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining. In fact, the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons are something I enjoy. Do you? Or are they an irritation. I do have my pet peeves about the season. I think that it should be against the law to have outside Christmas lights on before Thanksgiving. This year there were many stores with Christmas out on the shelves along-side Halloween stuff. That, to me, is pushing the envelope a little bit. But, none the less, I enjoy the Christmas Season. I enjoy the festivities, the decorations, family and friends and especially the smiles and attitudes of those enjoying the season.
I understand the true reason for the season. I understand and believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin in an out of the way place called Bethlehem in the most humble of circumstances. He came to this world to cleanse us of our sin and make it possible for us to live with Him forever. “For God so loved the world that He GAVE His one and only Son” (John 3:16 NIV). God “gave” His Son for our redemption and reconciliation back to Him. Jesus was a gift. But do you really understand the magnitude of that gift? Do you really understand how awesome this gift is?
There is absolutely nothing that could ever equal or even come close to the magnitude of this precious gift. John 1:14 (NIV) – “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” This in and of itself is huge. The Word, who is Jesus Christ, became flesh. God became man. Why in the world would Jesus do this? Why would He become a man? That would be like the chairman and CEO of the greatest corporation on earth deciding that he would give up all the wealth, power, and prestige to become a dishwasher at the local Chinese restaurant. A position of little prestige, even less power, and minimum wage. Would you do that? Would you give up being king to become a servant of a servant? What would be in it for you to do this?
God became man. Jesus was fully man, but He was also fully God. He came as an infant. “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” Luke 2:52. He grew from an infant to a child to an adolescent to an adult, just like each and every one of us do. He not only grew in favor with God but also with man. He was one of us. He was a man who felt pain and disappointment and sorrow and rejection. Jesus knew what sorrow was, John 11:33-35 – “He (Jesus) was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. ‘Where have you laid him?’ Jesus wept.” At one point He was so overwhelmed that He might die, Matthew 26:38 – “Then He said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” The point is that Jesus was fully man. He felt the same emotions as we do. He experienced everything that we have experienced. Why? Hebrews 4:15-16 – “ For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet He did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
But at the same time that Jesus was fully man He was fully God. Colossians 1:19 (NIV) – “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him.” Not just a portion of God but the fullness of God. Colossians 1:15-16 (NIV) – “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.” Jesus Christ, this man born into life just like all of us, was also the creator of everything that is. Jesus came as a man so that He would be approachable, after all He was a man just like us. But He is also God. He has the power to do something about our lives and our situations. Matthew 28:18 (NIV) – “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
Now these facts alone should be a big enough Christmas gift. But God is not done. Romans 8:35-35 (NIV) – “Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” God is at the right hand of God the Father. He is sitting in the seat of authority. And not only that, He is interceding on our behalf. He is praying for us. How grand is that? God the Son is praying for us. If that fact does not give you some value, I do not know what else could.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was a free gift of God. He cost us nothing. Because of His life and death, He became our salvation and reconciliation back to a Holy God. He was fully man so that He could identify with us and us with Him. He was also fully God and had the power to do anything that He wishes. Jesus is also sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. Not only does He have the authority of God the Father but He is praying for us. For those who believe we have been given the gift of salvation and eternal life as children of God. We also have a high priest who is sitting in the position of authority who is praying for us. And not only that, He love us. Romans 8:38-39 (NIV) – “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus or Lord.”
God has given man the greatest gift that could ever be imagined. He gave us His Son Jesus Christ. All that is required of us is to believe. My prayer is that all those who read this will take this to heart and accept the most wonderful gift of Christmas that is possible. It will change your attitude toward Christmas forever. If you believe, you have received the best gift you could ever receive. Merry Christmas and God bless you one and all.