“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
~2 Corinthians 9:15 (NKJV)
A few weeks ago I spent some time talking to my great-niece, Maddie, and great-nephew, Tyler, about Jesus. ( “Does Adam Have a Belly Button?”) This week, as I was reading the Christmas story in the Gospel of Luke, something that Tyler said kept coming to mind. When we talked about Christmas, Tyler said that “it doesn’t seem right that it’s Jesus’ birthday and we are the ones who get presents.” His comment really got me thinking.
Jesus left his heavenly throne, which I’m sure was quite comfortable, to come to Earth as a man, for our sake. And what is the first thing we did? Turned his pregnant mother and earthly father away, forcing Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to be born in a smelly stable. Luke 2:7 (NKJV) He came down from Heaven where He was clothed in majesty and seated at the right hand of the Father and became a newborn baby wrapped in rags and placed in a dirty manger. We had no room for Him and yet; He humbled Himself to become like us, because from the beginning of the Father’s plan, it was never about Him.
He grew up to be rejected in his hometown of Nazareth, where they wanted to throw Him off a cliff Luke 4:28-30 (NKJV) yet, He simply walked through the crowd and went on His way. When the time was nearing for Jesus’ death, He set out for Jerusalem via Samaria. When the disciples learned that He was not welcome there, they were all geared up to call down fire and destroy the Samaritans! (Lively bunch, those disciples!) Jesus immediately rebuked them and just went on to Jerusalem another way. Luke 9:51-56 (NKJV) We rejected Him and yet; Jesus was merciful, because from the beginning of the Father’s plan, it was never about Him.
The very people He came to save, arrested Him, although He had done no wrong. They laid upon His head a crown of thorns and they spat on Him. He was flogged and beaten beyond recognition, then nailed to a Cross, like a common criminal. He was paying a debt He never owed, and yet; Jesus freely laid down His life John 10:17-18 (NKJV) because from the beginning of the Father’s plan, it was never about Him.
We are no different today than the people of Bethlehem, Nazareth, Samaria or Jerusalem two thousand years ago. Today, we have no room for Him in our schools. We reject His teachings and dare not allow His Commandments in public places. We mock the sanctity of marriage and depreciate the value of human life. We have no room for Him. We reject Him. We crucify Him again and again by our actions. And yet; He continues to love us, because from the beginning of the Father’s plan, it was never about Him.
This Christmas, and in the year ahead, I pray that you make room for Jesus in your heart, that you accept His free gift of Salvation, and that you honor Him daily by the way you live your life. The entire sum of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection was never about Him. It was about God providing us with a way to be with Him, in His holy presence, for all eternity, despite our sinfulness. Romans 3:23 (NKJV)
If God had a Christmas wishlist, as Tyler thinks He should, I believe the only item on that list would be for us to accept His gift to mankind… because the Father’s plan was always about His unfailing love for us.