Did you know it’s the season of giving? We tend to think it’s the season of shopping but we would be incorrect. Sometimes we conflate the activity of a season with the purpose the activity serves. What I mean is the reason you are out there shopping or clicking and adding to the cart right now is that you are preparing to give something to someone significant in your life.
This is a good practice for truly caring about someone. Taking the time to go out and purchase something with your hard earned money in order to give someone something they need, want or will understand as a symbol of your love for them is wonderful. I love this time of year.
So when it comes to Christmas, our busy schedules should remind us of something profoundly important concerning the Gospel.
Jesus was NOT God’s “emergency plan” to bail us out of our mess.
God NEVER reacts. He always acts and makes things happen. Take the first line of Scripture. God created the heavens and the Earth, God spoke and things came to be. Take the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. Sure the first page of Exodus says the Israelites cried out for help. But God spoke about this happening WAY before it happened to a man named Abraham in Genesis 15. God is never caught off guard by our problems and He has always had a plan in mind for your future.
When it comes to the often emphasized message of December, God sending His son born of a virgin to save His people, the scriptures cannot be more clear: God formulated this plan BEFORE time began. Consider the following passages:
Revelation 13:8 (NLT) the Lamb (Jesus) who was slaughtered (crucified) before the world was made.
Galatians 4:4–5 (ESV) But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
1 Corinthians 2:7 (NLT) No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began.
Matthew 2:4–6 (ESV) and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he (Herod) inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: 6 “ ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”
Matthew uses the phrase, “so what was written/spoken by the prophet might be fulfilled” several times to reinforce the idea that God was not just recently thinking of sending Jesus, God had Jesus in mind the whole time.
Why does this matter?
Because as you and I prepare ourselves during what is usually a chaotic “shopping” season hoping we don’t forget anyone, we can take comfort in the fact that God did not and would not ever forget you. God had giving Jesus for your sins in mind before you were ever on anyone’s mind. So you can take comfort in the fact that if He thought of you before there was a “thought” about you, He can take care of you now and from now on.
This is the comfort the Christmas message brings. Your life may be a mess, you might be stressed, you may feel depressed. But God isn’t caught off guard. He didn’t save you so that He could lose you. He saved you so that He could sanctify you, setting you apart for His purposes. Now if His purpose was to give His Son for you, it cannot stop at you. He wants to empower you to share it with someone else. The best thing you can do to reorient yourself around this incredible reality is come and adore Him with us this weekend… and bring someone with you!
I look forward to seeing you this Christmas!