Who doesn’t love Christmas and the memories it brings?
As you think of your favorite Christmas, what makes it memorable for you? Was it where you spent it, who you spent it with, or the gift you received? Maybe it was unforgettable because of the gift you gave to someone special.
My Favorite Christmas
My favorite Christmas was the time I put my name on every gift under the tree. I have a large family with five sisters, plus my mom and dad. My aunt and uncle came over on Christmas Eve to stay the night with us. While everyone was busy preparing for Christmas Day, I sat on the floor by the Christmas tree with wrapping paper, scissors, and a pen, making new gift tags with my name on each one. I added those to every gift under the tree. The next morning, while my uncle handed out the gifts, the pile in front of me grew larger and larger as I got most of them. The expressions on everyone’s faces were priceless. My mom knew something was not right and as she looked around the room, her eyes stopped on me. I confessed my deed, and she gave the packages, unopened, to their rightful owners. We all laughed, and my family still reminds me of that Christmas. It is a fun memory for us all.
God’s Favorite Christmas
Have you ever thought about God’s favorite Christmas?
Which parts do you think He most fondly remembers?
God created us to have fellowship with Him. But sin penetrated His perfect world and separated us from Him. We could no longer experience life with God, only death without Him. Alone. Heaven must have been lonely with only the Godhead and a mere myriad of angels, and not one human being in sight. He wanted us to live with Him in His home.
God knew the Way to make that happen.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 (ESV)
The Father entrusted a young girl with His only Son—a human-carrying deity. She wasn’t the richest or the most experienced or even married. But Mary loved God, and she was the perfect mother for His Son. Even knowing His people would threaten His Son’s life before He was two; God sent Jesus to be born and laid in a manger of hay in the company of sheep and shepherds. Imagine how proud He must have been on that day and how bittersweet it was when Heaven became even lonelier.
The Angel’s Favorite Christmas
God watched as the angels rejoiced in His perfect plan. Their instructions were to proclaim the good news to the lonesome shepherds in a field guarding their sheep that night. God didn’t tell the wealthy or the well-known. Instead, He sent His angels to the shepherds, the ones who protected their sheep and looked for the lost lamb.
They would understand His King.
How the Father must have loved the expression on their faces when His angels ignited the dark sky! I imagine His eagerness for them to behold His Gift.
God looked forward to the day His Son returned Home ushering men, women, and children to live with Him forever. Yet, how grievous the sting God felt knowing what Jesus must endure so He could welcome us into Heaven.
God’s Favorite Gift
God put His name on His present, too—Immanuel, God with us.
All He wants is for us to accept His gift. Don’t leave this precious One unopened. God’s favorite Christmas is the most unforgettable because of Who He gave us.
We sing more love songs than any other song. We hear Country songs
about what a man will do for his love, and pop singers singing about the love
of their life. And who doesn’t like a great love story? Hallmark movies,
romance novels, and magazine articles all boast of love. It is everywhere. We adore
History holds incredible love stories. King Edward VIII of England
abdicated his throne for the love of an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, in
1936. He could not take her as his bride as king, so he gave his kingship to
his brother, King George, and married the woman he loved. They became the Duke
and Duchess of Windsor.
Who doesn’t remember reading about the famous Egyptian Queen,
Cleopatra and the Roman General Mark Antony? After losing a war on Rome, they took
their lives rather than be apart in life. [i]
In a recent El Paso Walmart shooting, a man shot a couple, Jordan
and Andre Anchondo, to death while they tried to protect their two-month-old son.
The shooter shot Andre as he threw his body in front of his wife and then shot
Jordan as she tried to protect their son. [ii]
my children were young, my husband built them a swing set and fort with a slide
and tunnel to play on in our backyard. He started it in our garage in the
middle of winter. I have the cutest pictures of my three bundled children
sitting on the steps of the garage watching my husband, hammer nails, saw wood
and piece together this surprise. They could not wait to play on it.
Father’s Day, I gave Mike a small plaque inscribed with “From Daddy, with love”
to attach to the wooden beam of the playset so my children would always
remember who built it for them. My kids are nearing the end of their college
careers and that playset still stands in our yard.
1:3 says that
Jesus is “The exact imprint of [God’s] nature…” God
sent his Son as a loving imprint of his nature and love for us. One of
the most famous Bible verses is John 3:16 (ESV),
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
We could also say, “From Daddy, with love.”
Who among us would give their child for the life of a good person,
let alone an evil, selfish, or hateful person? Only a loving God would offer
His Son for sinners like you and me. Jesus suffered and died for us, for love.
Hebrews 2:9 says,
“But we see him, who for a little while was made lower than the
angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death,
so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.”
Not only was Jesus willing to die, but Hebrews tells us how He went
to the cross. Hebrews 12: 2 says,
“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who, for
the JOY that was set before Him endured the cross…” (Emphasis mine).
The Greek word for joy means gladness, state of rejoicing,
Why would Jesus be in a state of rejoicing in going to the cross? Because He knew that cross would restore the
relationship He, the Father, and the Holy Spirit wanted with us. We could finally
come to the Father, be in the presence of the Godhead, and experience Their
Jesus said in John 15:13,
“Greater love has no one than this; that someone lay down his life
for his friends.”
There are many people who have not only laid down their life for a
friend or family member but also a total stranger. How often do we see videos
of or read about someone who risked their life to save another or gave their
life saving someone? Just as Andre Anchondo threw himself in front of his wife
to save her from the shooter, Jesus did the same for us.
Jesus took the blame and punishment for a crime He did not commit.
Soldiers beat Him and He bled the blood we should have bled. He allowed the
soldiers to nail His body to a cross that ours should have been nailed to.
But, Jesus did what we could not do. He raised himself from the
dead (John 2:19, 10:18). Love raised Him. Love gave Jesus life from a horrible
death. Love left scars on His resurrected body. Love seated Jesus at the right
hand of the Father.
Remember, when we read verses like “Love is patient, love is kind…”
from 1 Corinthians 13, we can replace all the “Love is” with God is.
God is love. So God is patient, God is kind; God does not envy or
boast…God never ends.
We don’t often think of John 3:16 as a Christmas verse. This verse focuses on God’s love for the whole earth and what He was willing to part with so that the world could have life.
Have you ever considered what it was like for the Father to give His only Son to an evil world that would try to kill Him before He was two?
One of the hardest days of my life was leaving my premature twins in the hospital after I was released to go home. My heart ached worrying if they would be well taken care of. Did the Father’s heart ache when sent His Son into the body and arms of a young mother?
I can’t imagine what it would be like as a parent to give the life of my child for that of a stranger.
However, God did just that! How bittersweet it must have been for Him. By giving His Son to this world, a way would be may for us to be with the Father forever. Prior to the death and resurrection of Jesus, no one but angels dwelled in Heaven with the Father. Now there are millions of His children with Him forever because of One Son.