“For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.” – Titus 2:11.
Christmas is such a wonderful time of year. The stores are all decorated, Christmas carols play in the background and the streets are decorated with lights and displays. Drive through neighborhoods and see houses decked out in lights and all the trimmings. There is that wonderful smell of candles, cookies, cakes, and Christmas dishes. The children especially love this time of year, and with good reason: mounds of presents sit under the tree just waiting to be opened. The anticipation and excitement grow with each passing day for children and adults.
The presents will hopefully remind us of the greatest gift that God gave us all that first Christmas, His Son: “The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David” (Luke 2:11). Christmas should fill us with wonder and amazement.
God loves to give gifts. His gifts are not contingent on our circumstances. God gives freely out of the overflow of his heart. Christmas reminds us of this extravagant love. Jesus, God’s gift to us all, is the greatest expression of love, hope, joy, and peace. Jesus came in the most vulnerable way possible: as a baby, born in a manger, in a humble stable. This is shocking. It disarms our sensibilities and should speak volumes to us about Him. He is not angry , distant, or disengaged. He came near with tenderness and profound humility to share in our humanity.
Many people are experiencing messy lives this Christmas season. But if you study the first Christmas, you would conclude that it is a little messy as well. It was far from perfect. The Christmas story has heroes and villains, hopes and hardship, promises and pain, much like many of our stories. Jesus didn’t come to a Thomas Kinkade Painting. Jesus was born in the most humble circumstances imaginable, and all His life, He lived like most people around Him – only poorer. He came to mud, straw, poverty, and oppression. Think of it: His home had been heaven, surrounded by all the glory and power that were rightfully His as God’s only Son. But He willingly left all that behind and came down to share our lives on this earth – and even our temptations. The circumstances gave Jesus’ birth a significant humility. This King of kings and Lord of lords would be born in a stable,
Yet, wise men still followed a star of wonder: something they couldn’t fully understand, that led them to an unfamiliar place to meet Someone who would be called “Wonderful” (Isaiah 9:6). Like them, we need to be led again into the wonders of the season — to be awe-inspired anew at the mystery of what God did for each of us in sending His Son, Jesus, gift-wrapped as a baby, to be our Savior.
The real joy and wonder of Christmas, the true beauty of the Christmas message, is not just hearing about the angels appearing to the shepherds; it’s not even hearing the angelic choirs singing praises to God; it’s not even hearing the angel’s announcement There is born for you this day…a Savior, who is Christ the Lord; instead, the true beauty and wonder of Christmas is when we guard and ponder the gift, the surprise of God that first Christmas—that our Savior was born.
- This devotional talks about the sense of wonder that comes with Christmas. How do you personally experience and express awe and admiration during this time of year? What can you do to evoke a sense of wonder for you?