It is the darkest time in American History. We yearn for peace, wisdom and safety. We wonder about our children’s and grandchildren’s future. Our bodies succumb to weakness and pain from the raging stress of this age.
We cannot find the words for what we yearn for. What is the miracle we all long for? It is a work of unshakable emotional well-being. We want an uninterrupted flow of God’s power, grace and love. But, how do we get this?
I want you to see three things God did, and one thing you must do. We begin with the meaning of Christmas.
This year, defining Christmas is an emergency! I do not fear for Christmas. Quite the contrary, only the Gospel has more power than Christmas. Christmas will endure and impose its wonder on an angry world. All of the rocks thrown at Christmas, all of the railing against it, and all of the intellectual assaults on it, will bounce off and only reinforce its supernatural nature.
Christmas must be defined, for our sake. As I surveyed the Word of God, three verses captured me, and told me the clear meaning of Christmas.
Isaiah 9:6, For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.
John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Romans 8:32, He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not, with Him, also freely give us all things?
These verses should weaken our knees beneath a weight of eternal gratitude.
Christmas means this: God the Father gave His Son.
The human race was beyond helpless; cursed with an unlimited tendency toward evil. Human history horrifies. Our story is one unending night of agony. Ages of nothing but darkness.
There was only One who pierced the blackness. His words came, and they came to stay. Jesus kicked Satan’s teeth in, and chained him to a twilight existence. Left with only partial use of his powers, the Devil awaits the certain doom sealed by the Cross and the Resurrection.
How do I make the miracle of Christmas my daily strength? The three verses quoted above tell us something of unimaginable wonder: Christmas is, first and last, God the Father giving His Son. He is the ultimate Giver. Eternity can calculate neither the depth, width, nor the height of His supreme sacrifice.
Let me repeat what I said before. There are three things God did, and one thing you must do.
1. Jesus is a gift to you from the Father. “For unto us a Son is given.” Isaiah 9:6 begins not by telling us what was given, but to whom it was given. Jesus is a gift to you from the Father. You must personalize the miracle of this gift.
Religion says God only rewards those who always do right. That leaves us out. But Christmas says, “He is a gift to you in all of your failings and the gift is given without condition. You need never be without Him.”
My friend, Lionel Rodriguera, once sold a house in Southern California to a working-class family. He helped them find a loan, closed escrow, and gave them the keys. A few days later he went to check on them and found them living in the garage. They told him that they did not believe the house was theirs and huddled in the garage out of fear that the real owner would show up. The hardness of the life they had experienced had given them a permanent sense of unworthiness.
How many of us are living in the garage, emotionally, because we do not accept that we are the owners of a great salvation? You are free to roam in all of the rooms of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus is a permanent gift to you. In a world where things are constantly being taken away, how amazing it is to know Jesus will always be there!
2. You were worth the sacrifice. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” Jesus said this about the value of a soul, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul?”
At an auction in New York City, a Giacometti sculpture sold for $101 million. To me, it is ugly. I wouldn’t have given a hundred bucks for it. The point is that no one knew its value until the auction. The value was disclosed by what someone was willing to pay for it…
Likewise, the angels did not know the price of a single human soul, until the Father gave His Son. The darling of the universe, crucified? Heaven bankrupted for humanity? The value that God placed on the human soul stunned and baffled the angels.
Psychiatrists tell us that we need to feel valuable to someone. It is one of the deepest needs of mankind. Christmas booms out to you in a loud voice, “Look at how valuable you are to the Father!”
3. How will He not? Once there was a millionaire widower who only had one son. With all of his wealth and power, he still could not prevent his son from going to war in Korea.
When his son was killed, that father could not be comforted. He began a downward spiral, until he lived in the shadows. A year later a package arrived at his mansion. It contained a perfect portrait of his son in uniform. With it was this note: “I am a young painter from Korea who befriended your son. I painted this so that it might bring you some degree of comfort. Thank you for your sacrifice for my country.”
That portrait hung over the mantle of the great hall of his estate until the day he died.
Soon the massive home was the site of a great auction. Art treasures, antiques, and vintage cars drew collectors from everywhere. Two items were auctioned off. The third item was the painting of his son. No one bid on the painting because the painter and subject were unknown.
The silence was broken by the long-time gardener of the estate, who happened to be there as a bystander. “I only have a hundred dollars to my name, but that boy was like my own son.”
With that the auctioneer began to pound the podium with his gavel. “This auction is over!” The stunned audience demanded to know why. The auctioneer announced, “The Will states that whoever buys this painting gets the entire estate.”
Likewise, whoever gets the Son of God gets the entire estate. Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not, with Him, also freely give us all things?” How will God withhold anything you need?
So, what do you do for your miracle? Psalm 116:12-14 says. “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all His people.”
Drink deeply from the well of salvation and call on God from a heart that is full of confidence―because of the mighty Christmas Gift.
Make this the Christmas where the miracle of what God the Father gave us, and gives us every day, sinks into our soul so deeply that it neutralizes the power of fear and dread completely.
Mechelle and I want to wish you and those you love the merriest of all Christmases, from our family to yours!