Friday, December 13, 2013

The Gift

Christmas began with a gift. I do not mean the gifts of the wise men, but a far more precious one; I speak of one so great that it can affect even us today.

"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, 'Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.' " -Luke 2:1-11 (ESV)

The angel spoke of "good news of great joy that will be for all the people". What is this good news?
To be honest, the good news starts with bad news.
God created everything in this physical and spiritual realms, including the first human beings, Adam and Eve. Instead of being content to live with God, they coveted forbidden things, and acted outside of God's command. Because of that, sin entered the world, and became a part of us, making it impossible for us to reach God or Heaven, or anything lastingly good on our own. Sin also condemned us to eternal separation from God, starting in our physical lives, and lasting even after death.
Bad news.

Despite our persistent rebellion, God did not destroy us as He had every perfect right to do. He loves us, and had a plan to bring us back to Himself. That's where the passage from Luke comes in.
He sent His own Son Jesus to be born of a virgin.
Jesus lived a flawless life, but willingly died the death of a criminal for our sakes, taking the punishment we deserved.
However, on the third day after His death, He rose again, proving once for all that He was stronger than any power, and conquering sin and death completely. Good news!

But it's impossible to reap the benefits of a gift unless you receive it, right?
"But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12
I received Him, and though I and my life aren't perfect, I know God is always with me, and that I have something better waiting for me, if my life should ever be lost.
Day by day, I'm discovering my true purpose, and just for a little hint, this post might be part of it.

God offers you the ultimate gift: forgiveness for your sins, past, present, and future; a plan for your life here on earth, a place for you in Heaven, and His presence with you wherever you go.
Will you accept?

Merry Christmas!


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