Christmas Gifts

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

Romans 5:1-5

I think I’m okay making the blanket statement “everyone enjoys receiving gifts!” And I think it’s safe to say just about everyone enjoys giving gifts too. But why at Christmas? Why has Christmas become the time when we all give gifts, and not some other time of the year? Well, if you really want to know the answer to that question, I suppose you need to start at the beginning. It started at creation. When God created the world, everything was perfect! But when Adam fell into sin, perfection also fell away and death filled the void. The crown of God’s creation was no longer perfect, and as a result could no longer stand before their holy God. So, something had to give! Either Adam and Eve—along with all their descendants—would have to be punished for their sinfulness and sent to an eternity in hell, or God would have to intervene. 

Praise the Lord, He chose to intervene! Almost immediately after the fall into sin, in Genesis 3:15, we hear the first promise of a Savior. The Lord said to the devil, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Even before Adam and Eve fell into sin we know God cared for them, because they were the only part of creation that He formed without simply speaking. So it shouldn’t come as a great surprise that God wasn’t just going to abandon them on account of their sin. Instead, God promised that He was going to send someone to clean up the mess they had made. God promised to give a gift, the likes of which could never be matched!

Our gifts pale in comparison to the gift God has given. Our gifts are quickly forgotten and many times are things we don’t even need. But unlike ours, God’s gift was perfect in every way.  Perfect, because it was given out of perfect love for imperfect people. Perfect, because it was something we needed and something that lasts forever. Perfect, because it makes us perfect in the eyes of our God.

That gift was Jesus—God Himself yet also true man! All the way back in the Garden of Eden, God had a choice, let them suffer for their sins, or go and take the punishment for them. God chose to save his fallen creation—he chose not to let us suffer the punishment our sins deserve.

We celebrate Christmas to remember the day that Jesus was born as a real live baby boy! God in the flesh! God came to earth and lived as a real human being, so he could live in the same conditions in which we live, and as true God he was able to live that life perfectly! There was not one flaw in anything Jesus did! As Paul repeatedly points out in Romans chapter 5, Jesus was the solution to the mess that Adam made! Just as sin entered the world through one man (Adam), forgiveness entered the world through one man also! That man was Jesus! And as Paul so rightly describes it, the forgiveness won through Jesus’ perfect life, death and resurrection is a gift from God! There isn’t something you have to do to earn this forgiveness—in fact there is nothing you can do on your own to make up for your sinfulness. The only hope for you, me, and everyone else who has ever lived or will ever live, was for God to step in and do something. He did. He gave us the gift of Jesus!

So what better way to celebrate the greatest gift ever given, than with the giving of gifts at Christmas? We search the stores (or the internet) as hard as we can for that perfect Christmas gift, and we’ll never find it. But search the scriptures and I promise you’ll find it. The gift we have received in Jesus is the perfect gift. It’s a gift that answers all our questions and solves all life’s problems. Because we know, that no matter what happens on this earth; heaven is waiting for us in the end. Not because of something we did, but because of something God gave—the greatest gift ever.

Merry Christmas!

Pastor Z.