Christmas is all about gifts; gift giving, gift buying, and gift receiving make up so much of these weeks of the year. Many are looking for the most "wanted" gifts; so much so that often these gifts are sold out and become even more sought after. As we open to the last dozen verses of Luke 1, think about the most wanted gifts.
The Most Wanted Gifts
The world's largest retailers sent out a beautiful, full-color, glossy flyer a few weeks ago with the "gifts everyone wants this Christmas." I was driving as Bonnie read through the items offered: diamonds, home theaters, complete "dream vacation" packages to be with music stars backstage, and on went the list. Then the "ultimate" gift was presented—a million and a half dollar personal jet that seats four!
Is that what we all really want—diamonds, dream vacations, and private jets?
Christmas in America is mostly about gifts given and received. Billions and billions of dollars of sales attest to the fact that for these 4–6 weeks we flood the retail outlets and search for and buy the gifts that are most wanted, most sought after, most unique, and most memorable.
But the real Christmas was the very first one, when God confronted the world with the only gift everyone really needs. Christmas is about the gift no one seeks but everyone needs. In fact, God came to provide the only gift that everyone absolutely, critically needs—the substitutionary death of His Son, who came to meet our critical, eternal-life-threatening need prompted by our sins.
To help us understand Christmas from God's perspective, look over the holiday crowds that always seem to get in front of us everywhere we want to go these days; look beyond our house, our street, our city, our state, and even our planet; look above and remember to see our God on His Throne.
God Is On His Throne
This very moment, as the billions of souls in this world go through their routines of eating, sleeping, working and living, our God is enthroned in the Heavens. He is sitting in power and majesty; He is surrounded by countless angelic hosts bowing before Him and reverently crying out Holy, Holy, Holy. Before Him, the Ancient of Days, burn seven fires, reflected in the mirror-like surface of the crystal sea. Around Him, the King of Glory, peal endless claps of thunder and flashes of lightning as angelic hosts and saved sinners rise and fall in adoration. In front of Him, the Almighty God, rise the constant incense of prayers and worship songs from His redeemed creatures.
Our God sits enthroned in Heaven as Ruler over the entire Universe. As the Lord looks down from His Throne upon this planet overspread with people, it looks pretty dark down here. Listen to one picture that God left us; this is His analysis of our human plight.
Luke 1:78–79 "Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."
We Are Lost In Darkness
From God's perspective, all of humanity is hopelessly lost, sitting in the dark and awaiting destruction.
Christmas is the story of the Lord God Almighty, motivated by His great love, sending Jesus to provide the way of salvation to lost humanity sitting in that complete darkness.
Jesus came to Earth as the sunrise from God to shine the light of God upon all of the lost and sin darkened people of this world.
It is always darkest just before dawn, and that is just how it was. The Roman world of the 1st Century had reached the highest levels of science, literature, culture, engineering, transportation, and medicine known since Adam and Eve stepped from the Garden.
Yet with all that advancement, most people were still hopelessly lost and endlessly troubled by an inability to even control their own fears and desires, let alone know how to come to know the Awesome God of the Universe.
So in that darkest hour, God sends the only gift everyone really needs.
God Visits Us
As the Christmas story unfolds, we see more and more of God's plan to come and rescue lost humanity. This Christmas, we need to see ourselves as God saw us.
We are born spiritually blind, and we grow up sitting lost, helpless, and hopeless in the darkness of sin. As sinners who have sinned even once in God's sight, we are guilty of breaking all of God's commandments (James 2:10).
Christmas from the Divine vantage point, as explained in the Bible, should make us see ourselves as worse than we think, rather than better; because Christ's death is only for the guilty, only for the hopelessly stained, and only for the helplessly lost. It is in that condition that we find God's grace.
Do You See Your Critical Needs?
All sinners (so that means all humans that have ever lived on planet earth except Jesus Christ) have seven basic Biblically described critical and soul-threatening needs.
If you listen to the messages that God gave about His purposes in sending Jesus to the earth, you find the critical needs we have:
• Matthew 1:21 is forgiveness of our sins.
• Matthew 1:23 is justification so God can be with us.
• Galatians 4:4–5 is redemption and adoption for us who are slaves to sin and strangers to God.
• Luke 1:79 is peace with God and life to us at war with Him and dead in sin.
Briefly summed up, all humans are hopelessly lost, sitting in the dark and awaiting destruction unless seven critical needs are met by God through Jesus. These are forgiveness, justification, regeneration, reconciliation, adoption, redemption, and sanctification.
The Only Gift Everyone Really Needs
As you think about Christmas, gifts, presents, giving and receiving, why not check and be sure that you have received the most important of all gifts.
Only if we have received Him, Jesus who came to save us from sin, do we really have anything in our possession that matters. Every other possession and gift can be stripped away from us by death, disease, or disaster. Only Jesus will never leave us nor be lost; only He can save and keep us forever.
Have you received the one and only gift that you (and everyone else) really needs?
This article was selected from Dr. John Barnett's MP3 CD, The Glory of Christmas. For more resources, visit our website at www.DiscoverTheBook.org. Or to read the rest of this article, insert the following URL into your browser bar: http://www.dtbm.org/sermon/christmas-the-only-gift-everyone-really-needs/
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