God has a son; His name is Jesus Christ. Long before He was born, Prophet Isaiah had heralded the arrival of a child who was to become our new hope, saying, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end…” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Of His birth, three things were promised us which became the basis of our eternal hope:
1. A glorious light which would dispel all shades of darkness in our lives – a great light both for direction and comfort to the people of God.
2. A glorious increase and complete joy arising from His birth (Isaiah 9:7).
3. A glorious liberty and enlargement and with good reason.
The design of the Gospel is to break the yoke of sin and satan and thus remove the burden of guilt and corruption. This child became the Son of God in whom God invested much honour and power, so that we might be happy in His presence.
God so loved the world that He gave this priceless seed to be born unto us. How precious a jewel the Son is to the Father. God so loved the world that He planted this seed – His best seed – in the earth to produce a family. Today, millions are born again through this seed. What a priceless offering is our Lord Jesus Christ to the world! He is God’s most precious possession – a Son in whom the Father is well pleased (Luke 3:22). Through Him all flesh shall see the salvation of God (Luke 3:6). We should appreciate Him; we should hear Him speak (Matthew 17:5).
How do we show our appreciation to Him? When we give every good thing the Lord has given us – our strength, time, faith, love – we are not only meeting the needs of God’s people, we are at the same time showing appreciation for His provision. When Jesus was born, the Bible says, gifts and offerings began to pour in from far and near. Wise men from the east came with their offerings. ‘When they saw the child with His mother, Mary, they knelt down and worshipped Him. They brought out their gifts… and presented them to Him with humility and reverence’ (Matthew 2:11).
Thus, giving became the very basis of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no love that does not express itself in giving. God so loved us that He planted His best seed in the earth so that His peace might abide with men forever. The seed gave Himself up as a living sacrifice (John 10:15) for our sake, to heal the broken-hearted, give the captives freedom, comfort those who mourn, release the prisoners and defeat their enemies (Isaiah 61:1-4). What a great love! It is in our own interest to show our appreciation to this seed and on all occasions.
Remember, appreciating or honouring Jesus does not consist in wild partying, carousing or any other forms of immoral, self-serving activities as usually happen during Christmas and other Christian festivals today. It does not consist in stealing, killing and plundering in our attempts to “meet the demands of Christmas”. Far be it! Christmas is a time to give and a time to give is a time to show love, kindness and compassion – a time for sober reflection, not only on the benefits of Christmas but also on our unworthy past.
Jesus said to His disciples: “A new command I give unto you, that ye love one another…” (John 13:34). Our love for Christ is the basis of our love for one another (1 John 4:21). Love, kindness, faithfulness and a giving spirit are born at Christmas. Therefore, when you celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas, you are celebrating His giving Spirit, faithfulness, love, kindness and divine knowledge. The union between God and His people all started and was consummated with Christ. We love and honour Him with all our substance because He first loved us by coming down from Heaven only to lay down His life for our redemption. He came down from Heaven and is in Heaven because He loved the world so dearly, so richly.
Through Him, there is a general offer of life and salvation to all who would believe Him. God gave Him up for our sake with this fair proposal, that, “whosoever shall believe in Him shall not perish” (John 3:16). Herein lies the great Gospel duty – to believe. Here is the great Gospel benefit: Through this seed, God has taken away our sin and purchased for us total pardon. Here is God’s design in planting His best seed in the earth: His mission is not to condemn the world but to restore His justice and peace, not as the world gives (John 14:27).
He has done all this for us. ‘While we were yet sinners, He died for us’ (Romans 5:6-8). What have we done for Him? His injunction (instruction) is very clear: You serve God when you serve humanity for whatsoever you do to your fellow brother that you do unto God. You should cultivate a giving spirit for that is the only way you can be like unto God.
Jesus desires and deserves our best because He has given us His best and Christmas is a time to give our best – every good thing God has given us. It is a time to demonstrate the state of our mind as penitents, through giving, knowing that we are undeserving of His presence.
This is the essence of Christmas. Anything short of this is a wrong approach. When we do otherwise, we are not only grieving the Holy Spirit, we are making Him see what is opposed to His will.