(An advent post from my Learning to Live a Surrendered Life archives before it became Unwrapping His Grace.)
Today, we are going to answer the question “Who is this child?” as we talk about the amazingly, perfect gift which we have been given by God…through Mary’s total and complete ‘Yes’ to God. If you missed the first two articles in this series I have included links so that you can catch up before reading on…
Week 1 “Highly Favored”
Over the last several weeks, people have been searching for the “perfect gift” to give their husbands, wives, children, parents, sisters, brothers, friends, and co-workers. So many retail stores are ready to help us find that “perfect gift” for them. So many stores claim to have the “perfect gift”. Some of us have tried to make the special people in our lives the “perfect gift” too.
We want to give our children, family, relatives, friends so much! We want to bless our husband and children with that “Wow” gift that they will love and never forget. I know that one of my favorite things about Christmas morning is watching our children’s faces as they open their Christmas gifts…as we wait in anticipation looking for that special burst of joy to fill their faces.
I, too, love to give at least one gift that I know that our children and my husband will really enjoy…something special that they have been wanting or needing. There is nothing wrong with wanting to bless our loved ones.
In all of the excitement, my husband and I are working hard to remember that there was and will ever only be one perfect gift that was ever given…and it wasn’t a new wardrobe or a new job. It wasn’t a flat screen TV or a Wii. It wasn’t a soft, cuddly teddy bear just waiting to be hugged. It wasn’t anything like that…it was more amazing than we can ever imagine! It was and is the gift of our Savior…Christ the Lord!
What is so humbling and inspiring is that one…completely perfect gift given to us by God Himself wasn’t given to us surrounded by beautifully decorated trees and wreaths. That first Christmas…the perfect early morning of Christmas didn’t look anything like it does today. It wasn’t filled with beautiful packages under a perfect Christmas tree surrounded by all of their friends and family…not at all!
The perfect gift was delivered into this world by a young woman, who had never given birth before, assisted by Joseph who had never delivered a baby before! They were alone…with only God to lead them…not surrounded by friends and family. There were no doctors or midwives or mothers to help Mary understand what was happening or to direct Joseph in a process that men did not traditionally participate in over 2000 years ago. It was on the floor of a dirty stable cave filled with animals in a strange place after a very, very long walk. Mary wasn’t dressed in her finest clothes when her Savior came out of her body and into the world. She was dirty and sweaty and exhausted. It wasn’t easy for her…she went through the pain of child-birth with no instruction or help from anyone other than the encouragement of her fiance Joseph…who was just as new to the whole process if not more than Mary.
While I was preparing this week’s devotional study…something incredible hit me. Jesus came into this world, covered in the blood of life that goes along with child-birth and then thirty-three years later, died covered in His own blood so that he might give everlasting life to all of us! Wow!
The perfect gift, the King of Kings, came to us as an infant covered in blood of the sacrifice of becoming a human being in the most humble circumstances possible…born with the animals with a bed made out of a feed bin…a manger. Then, when He died, He died in the most humble and degrading ciricumstances…through being executed for sins He didn’t commit. Really puts things in perspective doesn’t it?
And so once again, I stop myself and think about this incredible testimony as I answer the most important question of Christmas…Who is this child?
The child she was called to carry in her belly and watch grow in wonder and awe. The tiny, infant, who didn’t look like a King at His birth. As she trusted and raised Him and taught Him about His heavenly Father as her mother had taught her.
Who is this child?
The angel Gabriel doesn’t leave anything to chance…he is very clear to Mary and to us as to who this precious child was and who He is for us.
30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:30-35 NIV
This child is Jesus!
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High!
The Lord will give him the throne of his father David!
He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever!
His kingdom will NEVER end!
The holy one to be born will be called the Son of God!
He is the Messiah!!!
Isn’t that amazing!!! God’s incredible gift of His very own Son!!! The gift of Himself! The gift of Salvation!!!
What’s even more incredible is that the gift of Jesus the Christ wasn’t just for the people 2000 years ago…it is a gift that God offers us today! A gift that He offers us every day…not just at Christmas. It isn’t just another birthday party for Jesus…it is a celebration of the gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus!!! In all of our preparations…are we remembering to offer this gift to our children and those we love the life changing gift of Salvation? We need not wait until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to talk about that gift. It isn’t something that we need put off until we celebrate His Resurrection during Holy Week and Easter Sunday.
This is the gift He wants to give us today! One that He wants us to share with others, today! Not to wait until Christmas!
No gift that we could ever buy in the store can compare to the gift that Jesus gives us…saving us from all of our sins…past…present…and future.
So over these last two weeks before Christmas, as we exchange gifts with our loved ones and friends…let’s find a way to share the “perfect gift” with them. Let’s talk about Jesus. Not just the baby, Jesus…let’s talk about the amazing ways…or the quiet ways…that Jesus has changed our lives. How we would never be the same without Him. Let’s share the stories and testimonies of His birth over 2000 years ago…but let’s also remember to share the stories of His birth in our hearts and lives. These are the stories…the gifts…that can change the lives of our children and our loved ones.
And then…let’s teach them to share these gifts…their own stories…with the people they love and care about and the people who the Lord brings into their own paths.
Let’s help each other to give the gift of being ready for when He comes again… because He will! And here’s the thing…we, none of us…knows when He will return.
Are we ready? Having Him as our Savior is wonderful and amazing and so important! But there is one more question that follows…have we allowed Him to become Lord of our Lives? Have we given Him the gift that He so passionately desires?
What is that gift? We will talk about that next week!
This week’s challenge…
Will you join me in finding some time to share your own story…your testimony of receiving the perfect gift of Salvation with someone you love? If you have not yet received Jesus as your Savior, I encourage you to ask someone you know, who is a Christian, to share their story of receiving Him into their hearts with you.
I would love to hear how it goes so please leave me a comment sharing what God is teaching you through this passage today…or even how sharing your own story goes!