Robert Griffith | 25 December 2023
Robert Griffith
25 December 2023


1. God is with us

This is the first and greatest truth of Christmas. God is with us. The Bible says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). We do not work our way to God but in Christ, God comes to us. If you’ve ever felt like God is indifferent or uncaring toward you, remember the story of Christmas. Remember that God pursued you in Christ, and He continues to do so. We do not worship a distant God but rather a dwelling God – the God who makes His home among us, the God who is Immanuel, the God who is with us!

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” (Matthew 1:23)

2.  God has not forgotten us

When Christ came, the people of God had not heard a word from the Lord in centuries. In fact, the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi, was written around 440-400 B.C. The people were longing to hear from God, waiting for Him to fulfill His promises. In such moments of waiting, it’s often tempting to think that God has forgotten us.

The songs surrounding the birth of Christ in Luke 1 echo the sentiment that God has not forgotten His people. Mary sings, “He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy.” (Luke 1:54). The prophet Zechariah sings, “He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering his sacred covenant – the covenant he swore with an oath to our ancestor Abraham.” (Luke 1:72–73).

God “remembered” His mercy, covenant, and promises. When the Bible says that God “remembers” … it does not merely mean something is brought to God’s attention or that He forgot something. It means to fix your attention on something and act on it. In the Christmas story, then, we see God turning His attention to His promises and acting on them to fulfill His Word. We see God, in mercy, fixing His attention on us and acting on our behalf by sending Christ to save us. So be encouraged – God has not forgotten you!

“Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:15–16)

3.  God understands

At Christmas, we remember that the Son of God became a man. He entered our world with all its brokenness, sin, and suffering. Jesus experienced the full range of human emotion and temptation and joys and sorrows and everything in between.

As the “man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3), Jesus understands our pain. He is not indifferent to our experiences and emotions – He knows them. He has experienced them. The Lord Jesus can truly say to each one of us, “I get it. I understand.” So, whatever you’re going through, know that you’re not alone. God understands, and He invites you to come to Him to receive His grace and help in your weakness.

“This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:15–16)

4.  God is immeasurably great and unexpectedly humble

Christmas is a time to marvel in awe and gratitude at the lengths God has gone to show us His love and to save us. The Creator came to His creation. The God of Heaven came to earth. The infinite God became an infant son. The Lord, whose royal robe filled the temple of heaven (Isaiah 6:1), became a baby who was wrapped in swaddling cloths (Luke 2:7).

The God of the universe, who is present everywhere, did not have a room to be born in. The Son of God left His throne in heaven, surrounded by the unceasing praise of angels, to come to earth where He would ultimately receive a crown of thorns and hear crowds shouting, “Crucify him!”(Mark 15:13).

At Christmas, we stand in awe at the majesty and humility of God. He came not in power to kings in a palace but in humility to ordinary shepherds in a small rural town of obscurity. The Lord comes to us not with angry fist, shouting from heaven, but with an open hand and helpless cry from a manger.

“She gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).

5.  God is at work in the darkness

Why did Jesus come? How would you answer that? Most people might say “to save us” or “to show God’s love” or something similar. That’s true. But the apostle John gives a rather unexpected and clear statement as to why Jesus came. He said, “the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” (1 John 3:8)

Immediately after the Fall, God made a promise. He told the serpent (the devil) that from the offspring of Eve would eventually come someone who would crush the head of the serpent (see Genesis 3:15). Known as the proto-evangelium, this is the first reference to the good news that the Saviour would come to destroy the devil’s work and redeem us.

Christmas, then, is a reminder that even in our broken world full of darkness, sin, and evil – God is still at work, bringing light to those in darkness.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2)

6.  God has good news of great joy for all people

The angel announced to the shepherds “good news of great joy that will be for all people.” (Luke 2:10). Good news. Great joy. For all people. That’s the wonderful proclamation of Christmas in a nutshell.

The good news is that we have a Saviour, Jesus Christ. And it is good news – not good advice or good teaching but good news. That means something happened. God came to us in the person of Jesus. He came into our real world, in a real place, and really lived among us, and really died for our sins and really rose from the dead. And He really offers us the free gift of salvation. It’s the best news!

And it is news for all people. No one is outside the reach of God’s grace in Christ. All are welcome to come Jesus, no matter who you are, what you’ve done, or whatever your background – all are welcome to come to Jesus and receive His free gift of salvation. It is greatest gift that leads to the greatest joy – the joy of knowing Jesus, of living with hope, of being adopted into God’s family, and knowing your future is secure in heaven.

“The angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.’” (Luke 2:10–11)

7.  God graciously gives and graciously saves

We love seeing our friends and family and children excitedly open gifts with gratitude and joy, don’t we? There’s nothing like the feeling of seeing a loved one joyfully receive a gift you got them. And similarly, there’s nothing like receiving a thoughtful, meaningful gift from a loved one.

Why do we give gifts on Christmas? Because we remember that God is a gracious giver. Consider the most famous passage in the Bible, John 3:16, in light of Christmas … “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Our greatest need required the greatest gift. And the greatest gift God can give is Himself. That’s what He did on Christmas. He gave us His one and only Son to save us from our sin. And just like any gift, the proper response to a gift is not the pay the gift-giver back – that’d be an insult! The proper response is to simply receive the gift with joy and gratitude. That’s what God calls us to do with His free gift of salvation – to joyfully receive His Son.

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

8.  God always keeps His promises

The accounts of Jesus’ birth in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke show how Jesus’ birth fulfilled many long-awaited promises to Abraham, David, and other prophets. You can hear echoes of the Old Testament throughout the Christmas story, and there are direct statements like this: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet.” (Matthew 1:22)

We often struggle with waiting on God. We want Him to come through for us and fulfill His promises … according to our schedule. After all, some of the promises fulfilled at Christmas were spoken of centuries beforehand. The apostle Peter encourages us, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8–9)

Christmas shows us that God is always faithful to fulfill His promises. While it may not be in our desired time or our desired way, God always comes through. When He does, it’s always better than what we could have planned. We can trust Him and His timing.

“He has sent us a mighty Saviour from the royal line of his servant David, just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago.” (Luke 1:69–70)

9.  God is worthy of all praise

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing! Joy to the World! Silent Night. O Holy Night. Away in a Manger. O Come, O Come Emmanuel. The list could go on. We love singing songs at Christmas, don’t we? We sing because Christmas is a time to celebrate, a time to praise God for sending His Son.

You can’t read the Christmas story without hearing the songs and praises of God’s people. You can read Mary’s song, known as the Magnificat, in Luke 1:46–55,  or read Zechariah’s song in Luke 1:67–79, or read of the multitude of angel’s singing at Christ’s birth in Luke 2:13–14. At the birth of Christ, the shepherds worshipped Jesus (Luke 2:20), as did the Magi (Matthew 2:11).

When you consider all that God has given us in Christ, praise is the proper response. He is worthy of all our worship.

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11)

10.  Jesus is coming back to renew all things!

Christmas is not just about looking back to Christ’s birth in His first coming but also about looking forward to His second coming. Just as Israel awaited the coming of the Messiah, so we too await in eager anticipation for the Lord to return to make all things right and all things new. Consider the lyrics of the beloved Christmas hymn, Joy to the World, in light of the return of Christ.

“Joy to the world! / The Lord is come / Let earth receive her King! / Let every heart prepare Him room / And heaven and nature sing / And heaven and nature sing. / He rules the world with truth and grace / And makes the nations prove / The glories of His righteousness / And wonders of His love.”

The repeated promise of the New Testament is that Jesus will come again as the King of Kings to reign over all the earth in righteousness, truth, and grace. We will dwell with Him forever, rejoice in the wonders of His love, and “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:4)

In our current world with so much fear, uncertainty, and confusion – this is the great and guaranteed hope we have in Christ!

“Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:28)

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