December is a special time of year for many individuals. Typical December activities include families traveling to be together; churches and schools having special programs; people looking for ways to aid those less fortunate than themselves; retail stores offering special sales and promotions; and parties and gatherings happening the entire month! All of these activities contribute to the special atmosphere that is often called the “Christmas Spirit.” Yet parties, sales, programs, and get-togethers are not what Christmas is all about. Christmas is a time to remember and reflect upon the Greatest Gift ever given—our Savior, Jesus Christ.
How did this special time come to be? Once upon a time—at the very beginning of time— everything was perfect. There were no heartaches, no tears, no disappointments. No thorns or weeds were present in this pristine world. Man had fellowship with his Creator, and life was wonderful. Then, Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and destroyed the harmonious relationship they had with their Creator. Hatred and anger entered the world. Pain, heartache, and tears became a part of life. Man was no longer in fellowship with God. In fact, the entire human race was doomed to eternal death.
When God announced to Adam and Eve the consequence for their sin, He also gave them a promise. Then, speaking to the one who tempted the couple to disobey Him, God said “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). This early reference to the Messiah gave hope to the world. Someday, evil would be crushed!
Hundreds of centuries after the fall of man, God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world. Jesus was born in Bethlehem to a virgin named Mary. Shepherds and wise men worshiped the Child Who would save the world from sin. (See Luke 2:1-20 and Matthew 2:1-12.)
Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of Christ. However, Jesus' birth would have no meaning without His sacrificial death years later. After living a sinless life, Jesus was arrested by local authorities, tried, and condemned to death. Jesus was crucified not for sins of His own, but for us who are guilty of sin. His payment for our sin provided a way for man to know God personally once again. When we believe and receive Christ as our Savior, we are given the power to become sons and daughters of God! (See John 1:12.)
During this month of December and the Christmas season, reflect on the Greatest Gift ever given. Thank God for sending Jesus into the world and share this Gift with those around you.