Have you ever bought a gift, the perfect gift, and had to keep it hidden away in the closet or under the bed so that it wouldn’t be found until just the right time? This has been THE most special, spectacular gift ever. You may have even started dropping hints like “you are absolutely going to love the gift I got for you”. The excitement was building! You could hardly wait, the anticipation of giving this wonderful present filled your every thought! But because the gift was so special you knew it didn’t need fancy bows or brightly colored paper, simple and plain was the best – it wouldn’t detract from the gift.
If that has ever been your experience then you know just some of the joy and anticipation that God the Father was feeling on that night when He sent the angels to the fields outside of Bethlehem to herald the news, His gift had arrived!
“That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. 9 All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord’s glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. 10 But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. 11 This very day in King David’s hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. 12 You will know who he is, because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay.” Luke 2:8-12 CEV
Enter Jesus, the best gift ever!
“God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.” John 3:16 CEV
God had been waiting to give this gift, wrapped in the body of a human baby, since way back in the Garden of Eden. God had enjoyed his relationship with Adam and Eve and would walk and talk with them each day until they sinned and broke that bond. From that time forward God the Father began working on a plan that would restore that relationship.
“Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. 18 God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others.
19 What we mean is that God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. And he has given us the work of sharing his message about peace. 20 We were sent to speak for Christ, and God is begging you to listen to our message. We speak for Christ and sincerely ask you to make peace with God. 21 Christ never sinned! But God treated him as a sinner, so that Christ could make us acceptable to God.” II Corinthians 5:17-21 CEV
Jesus restored us to the position that we had before Adam sinned. In Christ we are a NEW CREATION – a new creature – like the one that God created in the Garden. Jesus restored us to our place of being created in God’s likeness.
“But God is rich in mercy, and he loved us very much. 5 We were spiritually dead because of all we had done against him. But he gave us new life together with Christ. (You have been saved by God’s grace.) 6 Yes, it is because we are a part of Christ Jesus that God raised us from death and seated us together with him in the heavenly places. 7 God did this so that his kindness to us who belong to Christ Jesus would clearly show for all time to come the amazing richness of his grace.
8 I mean that you have been saved by grace because you believed. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. 9 You are not saved by the things you have done, so there is nothing to boast about. 10 God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things he had already planned for us to do.” Ephesians 2:4-10 ERV
In Christ we have been made new. It’s not something we work to earn but something we receive freely by grace. Just as Adam, created man, was God’s idea and he did nothing to deserve or even request his creation, it was God’s plan; so is salvation and the restoration of man to a living and loving relationship with the Father God.
So since it’s Christmas, I give you permission to open the best gift you have ever received, the One that came wrapped in muslin cloth and was placed on a bed of hay in a manger – the gift of salvation, of renewed life and relationship with the Father. Open it now and share it with others!