Christmas in a Nutshell

Date: 20 Dec 2015

Text: Isaiah 7:13-14 & Philippians 2:6-8

What motivates you to buy someone a Christmas present? Is it that you feel obligated? Or perhaps it’s because they bought you one so you feel you should buy one in return? Or is it because you love them, and love them enough to get them a present? Love is the greatest motivator of all and it was because God loves us so much that He sent His Son to live with and amongst us.

It all happened something like this! God created a beautiful world yet when He looked down He saw that the people in the world had turned His wonderful creation into a total mess. When God looked closely He saw that the world was full of sin; He was ignored, abused and disobeyed. It was a mess that needed sorting out and in order to sort it out God decided to send His Son to be with us and live among us.

And that is what happened that first Christmas; Jesus was born as an ordinary baby in the normal way but in extraordinary circumstances. His conception may have been different but His birth happened in the same that any mother knows. The big difference between Jesus’ birth and most others was that He was born in that well known stable and laid in hay in a manger instead of a plush cradle. Not a very auspicious start in life for the Son of God! Jesus had come to be God on Earth, God living with us.

For Jesus, the Son of God, to do that meant that He had to humble Himself and temporarily suspend His deity. As Paul tells us in that passage from Philippians that I read a few moments ago, “he had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what” (Philippians 2:6, The Message). He was totally willing to humble Himself in order to be with us. He lived among us; He preached, taught, healed and performed miracles and never did anyone any harm. Despite being God’s Son with all the powers that that entails, Jesus humbled Himself to such an extent that when He lived on Earth He did so as an ordinary human being with the same human characteristics that we all have. Just consider a few of these characteristics; as He looked down on the city Jesus wept over state of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41); when He heard that His friend Lazarus had died He wept again (John 11:25); I have long believed that when He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane shortly before His arrest He was scared, He knew what was coming and yet He went through with it; as an ordinary human being He would have felt pain as He was flogged, as the nails were driven home and then as He died. All of those are normal and natural human emotions. Jesus though was still God’s Son and in triumph He rose from that tomb and defeated sin and death.

This is the self same baby Whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. He came to bring joy and peace to all who would accept and acknowledge Him, and to reconcile mankind to God. That is Christmas in a nutshell, God sent His Son as a free gift to be with us by living among us and being the Saviour of all those Who accept Him. He is available this Christmas and all year round to all who seek Him, and seek Him we should.

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