The Gift of Christmas

By Tanja

Do you like receiving gifts? Do you like giving gifts?  It’s that time of the year again, Christmas. I love to receive gifts, but I also love to give gifts. Which is easier, to give or to receive?  Children love gifts too, I can remember a few moments in my childhood where I felt ‘picky’ as a gift receiver, because it wasn’t exactly the favourite toy I wanted. Despite feelings like this I always accepted gifts even if there were some disappointments. I could say that generally I was a happy gift receiver. I still am today! Relationships mean more to me than the actual gift. Gift giving is a sign of one of the love languages. (Read: Gary Chapman, “The Five Love Languages.”) I am all for being loved and being shown love. The greatest story of love that I know of is: The Father God sending His only Son into the world that all may have eternal life.

Just before the first Christmas ever, it was announced to a young woman in Israel, Mary, that she would have a baby. To Mary this could have been like a gift to her. She was chosen to be the one to bring the Saviour into the world. She considered herself blessed and felt that the Mighty One had done great things for her. (Luke 1:49) Indeed He did.

Jesus was born to Mary on that first Christmas. He would be the Saviour of the world. He was God who came to dwell with us and to reveal the Father God to all people. No one had seen God, but Jesus came to reveal God. The man Jesus, was with the Father God at the beginning of creation and for all time, so He knew what God was truly like, in fact He knew what it was like to be God, because He was God. Jesus was human, yet divine, and came to show us the true reality of God. We can see God through Jesus. Just think, not only has God made this world and everything that exists, but He also has walked on this earth we all live in.

Jesus is truly a gift for us, straight from heaven. He is ours if we are willing to receive Him. The reason He came was because the Father God loved us. He was a gift of love and still is today. It is your choice if you receive Jesus and His gift of eternal life. In my opinion it is gift too good to miss. Jesus is a gift, will you receive?

Jesus Gives Life Abundantly

Have you ever been tempted? Tempted to break the rules when they were so hard to follow? Have you ever believed something that was contrary to God’s Word, only because you were talked into thinking that way?

Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and He said anyone who enters through ‘His door’ will be saved. He has laid down His life for ‘His sheep’, His plan is to give us life and He wants us to have that ABUNDANTLY (John 10).

“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life, whom shall I dread?” Psalm 27:1

Jesus talked about the ‘thief’, in John 10:10, Jesus says, ‘the thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy, I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.’ After a time when Jesus had fasted for forty days and nights, he was walking in the desert, where he was tempted by the devil. The devil tried there tactics;

  1. He tempted Jesus to create and eat food.
  2. He tempted Jesus to jump from a high place, so He could miraculously save Himself.
  3. He tempted Jesus to get a position, that was not in God’s plan, in exchange for worship of thedevil.

Even though the devil used scripture to tempt Jesus, he used it for his own purpose and deceptively. Jesus rebuked the devil with scripture that had God’s truth in it. Jesus was furious with the devil’s last attempt to tempt Him. “Don’t you think you could worship me?” You can almost sense the trickery that the devil had in mind.

“Be gone Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only'”(Matthew 4:10).

The devil used the same deceptiveness with Eve in the Garden of Eden. “Did God really say you shouldn’t eat from any tree of the garden?” The devil acted like He was giving insight into what God really thought and how reality really was (Genesis 3). Unlike Jesus who was tempted in the desert, Eve fell for the temptation. My point is that, Eve fell into temptation and the result was sin, but Jesus overcame temptation.

“For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” Hebrews 2:18

“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:16

Jesus was tempted but He never sinned, yet this verse gives us hope and comfort that Jesus knows how hard it is when the devil comes and attacks us with his lies. We must remember that Jesus wants to give us life and He laid His life down for us.

Who is Jesus?

Were you ever the new kid in your community or neighbourhood? Did you have a friend who knew so much about you that was positive, that they spoke highly of you to others? John the Baptist had some affirmative words to say about Jesus.

John the Baptist was a man whose purpose was to direct people to Jesus. John himself was quite a spiritual man, who had insight into what was coming. Even from the start of his life, John was filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15). When Mary the mother of Jesus, told Elizabeth, (John’s mother) of the exciting news of her being the mother of Jesus, John ‘leaped’ in Elizabeth’s womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41,44).

John’s life was all in preparation for Jesus’ ministry and what Jesus would do (Luke 1:80). John had such insight into who Jesus was, ‘He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire’ (Matthew 3:11), he said to the people around him.

John was a witness that proclaimed that Jesus is the light (John 1:7). Jesus was in the beginning with God. Jesus was there when the earth and humanity was created. The Bible says we wouldn’t have come into existence apart from Him (John1:3). Jesus is the Creator of life (John 1:4). Jesus is God.

At the birth of Jesus, He is announced as the king of the Jews, the one to be worshipped (Matthew 2:2). He was worshiped right from His birth. When Jesus met John the Baptist for baptism, God said from heaven, ‘This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased.’ (Matthew 3:17). Jesus is the Son of God. ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life'(John 3:16). It was because of the love of the heavenly Father God that Jesus was sent to us. You can receive Him today as your personal Lord and Saviour.

What’s in His Name?

God created the world and its people. The first words He said about this is, ‘it is good!’ He was a God who spent time with the first humans, Adam and Eve, they had fellowship together. Until the promise they first had broke and sin entered the picture. Ever since then God has been restoring the relationship with humans back to its rightful place.

In Psalms 100:3 it says,

“Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”

We are made by God and we belong to Him. Just like when an artist creates a painting, the painting initially belongs to them. Ownership is powerful, and it is something that we don’t value as carefully in the modern world. We are more likely to take what really isn’t ours without thinking about it as much.

In Colossians 1:19-20 it talks about God being pleased with Jesus and that through Jesus He would reconcile to Himself ‘all things’. This would happen through Jesus dying on the cross for our sin. There is no other name where we can be saved but Jesus (Acts 4:12).

Two special aspects about the name given to Jesus are(Matthew 1:21-23):

  1. ‘Jesus’ means, ‘He will save His people from their sins.’ Also, described as, ‘Jehovah is salvation’.
  2. Jesus was given the name ‘Immanuel/Emmanuel’, meaning simply, ‘God with us.’

God’s plan to win back His creation started long before Jesus made His ‘appearance’ on earth. God was already prophesying through Isaiah to His people Israel about the plan to bring Jesus, the Messiah. “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”(Isaiah 7:14)

Jesus is the one who has come to take away our sin and to restore us back to being God’s people. God is claiming back what is His, we belong to God. Come to Jesus and in His name be saved!

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