A Christmas Blessing
There is no greater declaration of love than “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (Jn. 3:16). Each year as December unfolds, our world is caught up in all that it believes makes the celebration of Christmas special. There are presents to be purchased, cards to be written, and parties to attend with family and friends. Yet these things are not what the holiday is about.
Christmas is about God’s love, first promised centuries ago to a faithful man named Abraham who, at the Lord’s instruction, departed “Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan” (Gen. 11:31). The Lord promised Abraham many wonderful things, including, “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (12:3).
Through Abraham, God promised to manifest His love to humanity. His promise revealed a hint of what was ultimately to become the incarnation: God Himself becoming man in the person of the Messiah.
The Lord established a covenant with Abraham, making him the progenitor of the Jewish people: “I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly” (17:2). Abraham and Sarah were childless. But God is omnipotent; and the following year, when Abraham was 100 and Sarah 90, He blessed them with a son. God told them to name the baby Isaac; and the Lord declared, “I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him” (v. 19).
God then gave the promise to Isaac’s son Jacob (28:13–14). Later He revealed the Messiah would come from Jacob’s son Judah (49:10) and, ultimately, from Judah’s descendant King David (1 Sam. 13:14). To David God said, “Your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever” (2 Sam. 7:16).
Long after David was dead, the promise lived on: The prophet Isaiah declared, “There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse [David’s father], and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isa. 11:1). “For unto us a Child is born [speaks of Messiah’s humanity], unto us a Son is given [addresses His deity]” (9:6).
The Lord had created an entirely new nation, the nation of Israel, to bring to the world the reality of the one true God, His Word, and His love.
That love appeared on the first Christmas night in the form of a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger (Lk. 2:7). Divine love is the message the angel shared with the shepherds who were “keeping watch over their flock by night. ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’” (2:8, 10–11).
Though argued by some to be accurate, December 25 may not be the exact day when the long-promised Messiah entered time and space in the manger of Bethlehem. However, the fact that there remains a day to remember and commemorate His arrival is truly appropriate because, on that night, God gave to a world of sin-laden people a Savior, a sin-bearer, who was God Himself.
The Almighty created the Jewish nation as His special treasure to bring a final remedy for sin to a hopeless, needy world. His gift of salvation through the Messiah is free to all: As many as receive Him, to them He gives the right “to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (Jn. 1:12).
This Christmas, as we celebrate God’s sacrificial love, we should also thank Him for His beloved people Israel, through whom He brought our Redeemer. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps. 122:6).