How much have you spent this year on Christmas gifts? Each year people spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Many even rack up debt. On gifts no one really needs. Why do we do it? To give people happiness that fades away as soon as the batteries die or the sweater goes out of style. We incur cost for something that’s fleeting.
The first Christmas cost far more than we usually contemplate, but it gave real, eternal joy! Over 2,000 years ago, God became man to provide salvation for all people. On that first Christmas, an angel of the Lord joyfully announced Jesus’ arrival to a group of shepherds outside Bethlehem. “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
Great joy for all people. Absolutely. But also great cost and pain for some.
God the Father – The Father watched His own Son experience the pain and cruelty of the rejection of our sinful world. Then the Father, out of love for humanity, laid all the sin of that same world on His Son so the sin penalty could be paid. The Father’s cost was great. God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor 5:21
Mary – Even though this baby was a miracle, conceived in this young virgin by the Holy Spirit, Mary still faced ridicule from the community and doubts from her fiancé. The words of Simeon in Luke 2 accurately reflect the pain Mary also suffered as Jesus carried out His earthly rescue mission. This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too. Luke 2:34-35
The mothers of Bethlehem – King Herod was a wicked, paranoid ruler. When he learned about Jesus’ birth from the Magi, he devised a plan in an attempt to get rid of Jesus. He ordered the death of all boys two and younger, in and around Bethlehem. His orders were carried out, fulfilling the words of the prophet Jeremiah, A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more. Matthew 2:18
Jesus – The Beloved Son, truly God, left the glory of heaven to wrap Himself in humanity. Completely vulnerable, He arrived as a babe, a helpless infant. He set aside His divine rights and made Himself nothing. He became a humble servant and endured the cruel brutality of those He came to save. He obediently gave everything – even His life – on the cross of redemption. (Philippians 2:6-11)
Jesus came to save sinners. That’s me. That’s you. That’s every person who has ever lived. Sinners – the spiritually dead with no hope for eternity. Until… Until Jesus came that first Christmas to provide the gift we all desperately need. The precious, eternal gift of everlasting life. Have you received it this gift. If not, don’t let another Christmas pass without accepting eternal life from Jesus Christ. (Find out more now.)
Can we thank God today for paying the high price for that first Christmas gift? Share your thoughts and words of thanksgiving!
Note: This post is from the archives. It was first published on December 24, 2010.