It is unfathomable what it meant for our transcendent Creator God to become finite man. Nevertheless, the One who was “so much better than the angels” (Hebrews 1:4) willingly set aside certain features of His deity, descended from the authority of heaven’s throne, and “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7). But even beyond stepping down from the glorious form of God to the humble form of a human slave, the King of heaven took on “the likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3) and “became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). In this way, God graciously showed His great love for us by giving “His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
This perfect gift is the reason we celebrate Christ’s birth on Christmas Day, and its profound significance was best summarized by Jesus Himself: “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” (John 3:16). This is perhaps the best known and most loved verse in the entire Bible, and it surely has been the most effective in illuminating blinded minds and breaking hardened hearts to bring them to Christ and salvation.
The theme of giving is prominent in Scripture, with such words as “give,” “gift,” “gave,” etc., appearing more than 2,000 times. Genesis 1:17 records the first occurrence, when on the fourth day of creation God created the sun, moon, and stars “to give light on the earth,” and the last is Revelation 22:12, when Christ will return with His rewards “to give to every one according to his work.” Clearly, though, the greatest of all gifts was when God gave Himself for a lost and undeserving world—because it revealed the greatest love, met the greatest need, and had the greatest scope and purpose of any gift that could possibly be conceived in the heart of God.
Such a gift from God is abundantly sufficient to provide salvation and eternal life for the whole world. But a gift only becomes a gift when it is accepted, and the greatest of all tragedies is to see this greatest of all gifts ridiculed and scorned by humanity, or simply ignored by vast multitudes who need it so deeply. When the world turns down the perfect gift of Christ Jesus, they are turning down the source of all love, life, and truth. Ultimately, when God’s free gift of everlasting life is brazenly refused, the end result can only be everlasting death. God did all He could do when He gave His Son to suffer and die in our stead. Then what joy is ours to accept it, knowing we shall spend eternity in heaven with Him!
For all these reasons it is fitting that we give gifts at Christmastime to emulate God’s first and most perfect Christmas “Gift” to us. ICR is so very grateful to all those who follow this example, thanking God daily for those who uphold our ministry with their gifts of prayer and finances. As Acts & Facts has shown this year, our agenda is full of new initiatives with great potential to reach the world for Christ, and your generous tax-deductible gift this season will be an even greater blessing to us as we make plans for the coming year. If you are able, please prayerfully consider how you can help. We promise to carefully apply it to our work for the cause of Christ, our Creator.
From all of us at ICR, may God richly bless you and your family this holiday season as we celebrate the birth of our Savior—God’s perfect gift to us. Merry Christmas!
* Mr. Morris is Director of Donor Relations at the Institute for Creation Research.