God’s Christmas Gift of His Son

Christmas morning was a magical time for me growing up. My sisters, brother, and I would gather around the top of the steps in the old farmhouse where we lived, waiting for dad and mom to open the stair door and tell us we could come down. It always seemed to take forever for the door to open. Scrambling downstairs when mom gave us the okay, we’d find Christmas music playing, a cooked breakfast in process filling the downstairs rooms with great smells, the family room aglow with candles, stockings bulging, and a Christmas tree beset with a host of wrapped gifts. It was hard to take it all in, but it didn’t matter because it was all so wonderful.

Sitting around our own Christmas table this year, one of our kids asked what was our favorite gift growing up. After a few minutes, and some of us had a few extra years of memory to dust off, we took turns sharing what it was. For me, it was Incredible Edibles, a toy that had a small working oven with small metal plates made with formed shapes of animals and other objects in them in which I could squirt flavored goo and eat after a few minutes bake in the toy oven. Yum! (I was still fairly young at the time, but I’m not so sure that these ‘treats’ made it onto the American Heart Association list of approved foods!!)

One of the traditions in our home is the absence of baby Jesus in the manger scenes Keri sets up in the weeks leading up to Christmas. We have five manger scenes set up around the house. Our grandkids love going to each manger scene and asking, “Where is baby Jesus?” Little Lily is still young enough to be puzzled by this. We would tell them that baby Jesus is not born yet. It’s not Christmas day. Then on Christmas they’d come and find him lying in each of the mangers.

Certainly, Jesus is our greatest Christmas gift. But what gift did he come to bring us? His coming and purpose for coming is all part of the same package.

Galatians 4:4, the passage that we have been following the last couple of weeks, ends by telling us the ethnic group of people into which Jesus was born,

But when the fulness of time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law.

To be born under the law means that Jesus was born a Jew. Paul says as much in Romans 15:8,

For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs.

God’s redemptive gift to the world was to come through Israel. As Jesus tells the Samaritan woman, salvation is from the Jews (John 4:22). And this salvation is Jesus. For this reason, Jesus needed to be born in a Jewish household.

To sum up where we are at this point, God sent forth his Son from heaven. His Son’s entrance into the world was in the form of a baby born of a Jewish woman. A very strange way for deity to enter the world. But it was not an accident or a plan gone wrong. We must remember, it was a work of God the Father when everything was fully ready.

According to Galatians 4:5, then, this Christmas gift has two parts to it. Jesus did all of this

[1]in order to redeem those under the law, [2]so that we might receive adoption.

The gift’s two parts are redemption and adoption. Both can only be received from the Giver. Oddly enough, it would be this frail Jewish baby that would make it possible for people to receive this two-fold gift. The second follows on the heels of the first.

To redeem means to purchase, buy back. This fragile baby would one day make himself vulnerable to the threats and hatred of men in order to be strung up on a cross where he would become a curse for us and buy us back from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13). With the law no longer having a hold on us, his self-sacrifice makes sonship with God available to us through adoption.

This gift is as free as any gift we received as children growing up. My siblings and I received our Christmas gifts because our parents loved us and took great pleasure in buying these gifts for us. All we had to do was receive them. This simply meant taking the wrapped gifts from our parents and opening them. They were ours, just like that! We didn’t have to pay dad and mom back over time.

As so it is with God’s Christmas gift of His Son to us. It’s totally free. All we need to do is take it, no strings attached. We don’t have to pay God back over time for it. The joy of this gift is that it brings us into God’s family as beloved children and the profound pleasure of knowing the Father and Son. Knowing not just in the bookish sense, but in the personal sense.

And, you know, I’m standing at the steps again, waiting for my Father to open the door. But this time from heaven for His Son to come down for me and you, to take us to be with Him forever, to the glory of God, His Father, forever and ever.