We know the Christmas story quite well: we’ve followed the exhausted engaged couple as they make a tough trip to Bethlehem only to find no vacancy signs outside of every inn. We've been asked to smell the stink of the stable, study the social status of the shepherds and follow that single star in the sky.
We are all familiar with the Christmas characters: mighty messengers, terrified teen, committed carpenter, simple shepherds, announcing angels, hacked off Herod and of course the road weary, gift bringing, star tracking wise guys.
We commendably call on retailers to keep Christ in Christmas and we religiously remind people that “Jesus is the reason for the season.” We are clear that Christmas is really about a Savior coming down and not Santa coming to town.
But do we know the reason for the Redeemer? Are we clear on why God sent us Jesus? Why did God give his Son?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.” - John 3:16
1. So Loved
Santa gives gives gifts because we’re good. God gives gifts because who He is. If we approach God how we approach Santa, then we’re misunderstanding God’s love. He loves because we are His, not because we’ve earned it.
If Jesus didn’t come, we would have had no hope for eternity. Without Christ, we are completely lost. So it would do us well to elevate Christmas. It’s still good news of great joy for all people.
2. The World
Immanuel. God with us. Love came down. In other words, God cared enough to come rescue. The reality that Jesus would come from a glorious position in heaven to our lowly, messy, dark, and rebellious world is mind blowing.
But why? Why do we need God with us? We have to answer that question.
Because we were separated. Our sin kept us far away from God. The miracle of God with us means nothing, without the realization that we were separated until He comes. The cure means nothing until we acknowledge the sickness that has a need of the cure. We needed Him to come, and He did.
3. He Gave
For God so loved the world, that He gave.
For a moment consider the humility of the first Christmas:
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus; Who being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” - Philippians 2:6-7
When He should have received glory, He gave us His glory.
The Bible says that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. God has given us the example of humility that comes from love.
4. Love Came Down