"Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift" (II Corinthians 9:15).
Christmas has been called the season of giving. But no one can ever give more than God Himself gave upon that day two millennia ago that we now commemorate as Christmas. God's perspective on the giving of this precious gift to the world is portrayed in Philippians 2. Let us briefly note how His experience contrasts with four characteristics of our Christmas celebration anticipated today.
1. Reunion with loved ones: But Christ gave up the place at the right hand of the Father: "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God" (v.6).
2. Receiving of gifts: But Christ emptied Himself of the glory of omnipotence: "But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men" (v.7).
3. Recreation and relaxation: But Christ went beyond merely leaving His place of comfort and humbling himself to join humankind. He became a servant, and then even gave His very life in agonizing sacrifice. "And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (v.8).
4. Rejoicing: But Christ's birth was for a different purpose. "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour" (John 12:27).
Yet we find that this time of troubling to Christ did indeed bring joy to God the Father. Isaiah 53:10 states, "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief . . ." Indeed it is appropriate that our commemoration of the incarnation be a season of rejoicing, but as we consider the occasion from God's perspective it should cause us to love and appreciate His gift even more. DW