The Greatest Gift of Christmas
What is the greatest gift of Christmas? I’m sure you know the answer – Jesus – of course! The greatest gift we could ever receive is being reconciled to God and finding salvation in Christ. There is no better gift than that.
The Gift of Jesus
God’s greatest gift was to give His son to a world that didn’t deserve Him. Knowing this is one of the things that makes Christmas the most wonderful time of the year. Why? Because every year we celebrate the birth of the Savior – Jesus Christ the Lord. Music stations all over the world play Christmas songs proclaiming the birth of the Son of God.
People are outside singing carols. Shopping malls play Joy to the World and Silent Night and the Christmas story is repeated everywhere. Christmas has become very commercial but still, at Walmart, Christmas Carols like Away in a Manger and Little Town of Bethlehem are playing. Nativity scenes are on display in stores, people’s yards and at churches in most communities. Baby Jesus is everywhere and people celebrate the greatest gift of Christmas! Jesus.
Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough. At that moment, the first heavenly messenger was joined by thousands of other messengers—a vast heavenly choir. They praised God.
Heavenly Choir: To the highest heights of the universe, glory to God! And on earth, peace among all people who bring pleasure to God!.” Luke 2:11-14 VOICE
Unwrapping the Greatest Gift of Christmas
When my children were small, we would let them unwrap one present on Christmas Eve. At first, we let them choose, but they always went for the biggest possible one. So, our tradition was that we chose the gift they would open. We had fun with it, and they unwrapped the best gift that morning. God did the same thing. He gives gifts to His children but He saved the best gift for the perfect moment.
While generations waited and longed for the revealing of their Savior, God waited. He gave them other gifts but not THE gift. At last, in Bethlehem, a child was born. Bethlehem had been the city of David but had declined and was now a very small city. Because Joesph’s lineage was through King David, he had to go to Bethlehem for the census. A small, insignificant village became the birthplace of the greatest person ever to walk this earth. How like God. He waited, and when Jesus appeared on earth, it was in a place others viewed as being the least.
The Son of God
Bethlehem is where God chose to unwrap the best gift. Now, it is up to us to unwrap this same gift. When you’re given a gift, you usually don’t lay it down and walk away, making the gift useless. However, for millions, the gift of Christ is handed to them, but they walk away.
Even though He came to His own people, they refused to listen and receive Him. John 1:11 VOICE
At other times, we may receive a gift, open it and say how wonderful it is. Then we go home, put it in a drawer or closet, and don’t look at it again. Millions more do this with the greatest gift of Christmas – Jesus. Or, we may use it a few times and then put it away.
After the Excitement is Over
Have you ever received a gift that you really wanted and were so excited about when you opened the box? There it was! You laughed or shouted out and showed your excitement. But, after a little while, the excitement was gone, and the object seemed to be less than you thought it would be. So, it’s now in a closet or thrift store.
It can be the same way with our faith. When you’re first saved, there’s wondrous excitement. Everything is new and there’s much to discover. You’re constantly learning, and your gratitude to God is at an all-time high. But, as time passes, you encounter trials and temptations, and life takes over. After the initial excitement, you may feel disillusioned about the gift of Christmas.
Being Disillusioned is Good
Accepting Jesus is an exciting time filled with emotion and expectation, but the things you thought would happen right away didn’t. You now realize that you still have to battle your flesh and that all the problems in your life did not disappear. The Christian life isn’t what you thought it would be. You may even feel disillusioned. Did you know that this is a good thing?
The definition of illusion is – a thing that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses; a deceptive appearance or impression; or, a false idea or belief. To be disillusioned means to be rid of wrong perceptions or impressions, false ideas, appearances and beliefs. In relation to the Christian faith, that’s a good thing! While the truth may not initially be as exciting as the illusion, truth lasts, and illusions fade. The truth of the greatest gift of Christmas grows better and better the longer you keep it in your life, but you may experience that temporary disappointment in how you thought things would be once Jesus lived inside you. You’ll find joy and peace unlike anything on earth if you’re patient.
The Greatest Gift You Ever Received at Christmas
I’ve received gifts that weren’t that exciting but were very precious to me. I have a small clay angel sitting on my desk. It is an inexpensive, small gift. However, it was given to me by a friend at a terrible time in my life. It is a treasured gift. I have had it for several years, near me at all times. To someone else, it may look like nothing. It doesn’t do anything but lay on my desk. However, for my heart, it does beautiful things because each time I look at it, I think of my friend and her love and concern for me. What is the best gift you have ever received? Was it something extravagant, or was it something simple and meaningful?
The Jews didn’t view Jesus as a gift at all! Instead, they hated Him and viewed Him as nothing but trouble. They looked at the gift but couldn’t see what it truly was. The most valuable gift ever given was worth nothing in their eyes. He was not a warrior wielding a sword with an army of killers lined up behind Him. Instead, He was meek and lowly. All they saw was their fear of losing their power and source of income. Greed and fear blinded them.
The Best Gifts May Not Look Like Much
When we’re young, we may receive a gift that looks worthless to us. If we keep it, we suddenly realize its value as we mature. For some who receive Christ, it is that way. Initially, there’s excitement, but the excitement dies, and in their immaturity, they can’t fully realize what they have. However, as they grow and mature, they finally realize that Jesus is the gift that makes all others look like nothing because nothing and no one compares to Him.
The greatest gift of Christmas of all looked like a helpless baby. Just a baby like all the other babies, except that He was the ultimate gift of Christmas. Mary, Joseph, angels and shepherds saw what others did not want to see – a very plain-looking baby who was the Savior of humanity. What an incredible thing God did! How beautiful. The mystery of the ages was revealed as a little Jewish baby lying in a food trough in a barn with young, poor parents who were no one special in the eyes of man.
Immanuel – God With Us
This is the miracle, the gift, the beauty, and the majesty of the season. Jesus is with us. The fifty names of Jesus below give expression to just a part of who and what Jesus is:
|Jesus, Emmanuel, Christ, Lord, Master, The Word, Son of God, Son of Man, Son of David, Lamb of God, New Adam/Second Adam/Last Adam, Light of the World, King of the Jews, Rabboni and Rabbi, Savior, Chosen One, Elect One, Bread of Life, Faithful and True, Alpha and Omega, Beloved Son, Bridegroom, Chief Cornerstone, Good Shepherd, I Am,||King of Kings, Light of the World, Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Peace, Prophet, Redeemer, Risen Lord, Rock, Son of the Most High, the Resurrection and the Life, The Door, The Way, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, God with Us, Almighty One, Advocate, Author and Finisher of Our Faith, Head of the Church, Advocate, Great High Priest, God.|
As you read each name of Jesus, you see another facet of not only who He is, but what He brought to us and what we are in Him. Jesus is not only the best gift, He is THE gift. What God gave was complete, perfect, and unchangeable.
A Man Named Simeon
Eight days after Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph took Him to the Temple to be circumcised after completing their required sacrifices. While they were there, a man named Simeon was also at the Temple. He was a Jewish man of great faith to whom God had made a promise many years before. We don’t know when God gave this promise to Simeon, but we do know that he waited with unwavering faith.
While fulfilling these sacred obligations at the temple, they encountered a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was a just and pious man, anticipating the liberation of Israel from her troubles. He was a man in touch with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Anointed One. The Spirit had led him to the temple that day, and there he saw the child Jesus in the arms of His parents, who were fulfilling their sacred obligations. Simeon took Jesus into his arms and blessed God,”Now, Lord and King, You can let me, Your humble servant, die in peace. You promised me that I would see with my own eyes what I’m seeing now: Your freedom, Raised up in the presence of all peoples. He is the light who reveals Your message to the other nations, and He is the shining glory of Your covenant people, Israel.” His father and mother were stunned to hear Simeon say these things. Luke 2:20-33 VOICE
The Greatest Gift of Christmas
Can you imagine Simeon’s joy? He was an old man by now but had clung to the promise God made him. A painting by Ron DiCainni makes me cry every time I see it. If you’re interested in obtaining a print Click Here. With permission from Tapestry Productions, here is the picture.
Simeon’s entire being cries out to the God of heaven as he holds the Gift of Heaven – Jesus Christ, Savior, Lord Immanuel. I can’t imagine what it would have felt like to hold the Child of Promise but Simeon’s joy is beautifully expressed.
This Christmas, take time to reflect on the incredible gift of Jesus. As you unwrap presents, consider unwrapping more of who and what Jesus is. He is the only gift we keep unwrapping for a lifetime!
Blessings to you and I pray that your Christmas is filled with Jesus, love, and peace.
**We use verses from different Bible translations.
To see more information about the copyright for each one, please visit our Scripture Citations.