He Was Coming Into the World – Advent 2019
Christmas Day – From his abundance we have all received
“From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.” (1)
Do you like gifts?
Me?... I must admit that I do. It’s not my main love language, but gifts are certainly meaningful to me. (2)
And of course, if there is a holiday associated with gifts, it’s Christmas!
I must say that I had a good time this year shopping for gifts for the members of my family. (Usually, shopping is definitely not my favourite activity. Ask my wife!) I think we have found some interesting things: I’m looking forward to giving the presents to those they are destined to, so I can see their reactions. And of course, I’m also looking forward to seeing what I will get!
If we were to receive a gift from the richest man in the world, what would we expect?
Precious jewels? A luxury car? A big manor on a wooded domaine? A trip around the world?...
From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another...
And if it was God giving us a gift?...
God Gives Jesus To Us
“They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” (3)
The Jews form a people that is rich in spiritual blessings. They are a people that God made for himself from one man, Abraham. God made covenants with them, he gave them promises, he gave them the Law. And that Law “was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith.” (4)
At Christmas, we commemorate the fact that God gave Jesus, his Son, to us. It was the culmination and the completion of the Law. Jesus, full of unfailing love and faithfulness (5), was the supreme grace, the one bringing God’s grace to its climax. Grace upon grace... (6)
Through faith in Jesus, we are made right with God. We are holy and without faults in God’s eyes; we are adopted into God’s own family; our sins are forgiven; we have become heirs, predestined to celebrate God’s glory; we have been given the Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee that we will receive the promised inheritance in heaven. (7)
“So now you [...] are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.” (8)
Yes, from his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another...
And Jesus Has Revealed the Father To Us
Moses said to God: “Show me your glorious presence!” And God answered him: “You may not look directly at my face, for no one may see me and live.” Then God hid Moses in a crevice of the rock and after he had passed, Moses could see God from behind. (9)
The apostle Philip said to Jesus: “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” And Jesus replied: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!” (10)
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us...” said the prophet. (11) That Son was near to the Father’s heart from all eternity. Hence for God, to give Jesus was to give himself. And to see Jesus was to see the Father.
As for us, to know Jesus is to know the Father.
“And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.” (12)
“[The wise men from eastern lands] entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (13)
This year, our Christmas tree has quite a few gifts underneath. It’s a blessing.
But let us not forget that him or her who believes in Jesus has already received one gracious blessing after another from his abundance.
And let us not forget to worship Jesus: him the supreme grace from God, the One through whom we are rich, the One through whom we know the Father.
On this day of Christmas 2019,
to you, Jesus,
who loves us,
who has freed us from our sins
by shedding your blood for us,
who made us a Kingdom of priests
for God your Father,
to you all glory and power
forever and ever! (14)
Come soon, Lord Jesus!
Sincerely in Jesus,
Eleazar, the Bellicose Monk
Unless specified otherwise, all Bible excerpts are from The Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013).
(1) The Gospel according to the apostle John, chapter 1, verses 16 to 18.
(2) To learn more about love languages, see Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages.
(3) The Letter from the apostle Paul to the Romans, chapter 9, verses 4 and 5.
(4) The Letter from the apostle Paul to the Galatians, chapter 3, verse 24.
(5) The Gospel according to the apostle John, chapter 1, verse 14.
(6) The Gospel according to the apostle John, chapter 1, verse 16; The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016).
(7) According to the Letter from the apostle Paul to the Ephesians, chapter 1, verses 3 to 14.
(8) The Letter from the apostle Paul to the Ephesians, chapter 2, verse 19.
(9) See the Book of Exodus, chapter 33, verses 18 to 23.
(10) The Gospel according to the apostle John, chapter 14, verses 8 and 9.
(11) The Book of the prophet Isaiah, chapter 9, verse 6.
(12) The Gospel according to the apostle John, chapter 17, verse 3.
(13) The Gospel according to the apostle Matthew, chapter 2, verse 11.
(14) According to the Book of Revelation of the apostle John, chapter 1, verses 5 and 6.