“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.”
Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV)
Though the title of my devotion is hardly original, the truth behind it is critical for our understanding of God’s plan for the world. The Christmas season can be one of fellowship with loved ones and friends, focusing on Christ’s birth. But it is easy to reduce this time to pageantry and memories of Christmas’s past, so much so that we lose our reverence of and gratitude for what our Lord’s birth represents.
In God’s timing, He sent His Son to enter the human race, born of Mary. The Second Person of the Trinity became a man: Jesus was the one and only God-man. He was sent to save us from our sins, for His perfect life is what we claim when we come to the cross and find forgiveness from the Father; by faith, we are redeemed.
That is not the end of the story, for He welcomes those into His family who believe in His Son; unbelievably and undeservedly we can claim God as our Father, for we have been given the right to call Him “Abba!” Furthermore, the Holy Spirit witnesses to our spirit that we are children of God and in line to inherit the unthinkable blessing of life with Him forever (Romans 8:14-17).
Christmas is more than celebrating Christ’s birth. It is about remembering His love, His perfect life, His death and resurrection, and His ascension to the right hand of God. In this devotional, we celebrate His first advent or coming to earth; but our writers testify to the fact that Christmas teaches us to anticipate His second Advent or appearance on earth. To celebrate this advent season is to testify that Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16).
It is the hope and prayer of those who have contributed to this devotional that all who read it will experience what Christmas is all about, namely the overwhelming glory of the One whom the heavenly host sang about, Jesus Christ (Luke 2:13-14).
Prayer: Dear Father, as we remember the Babe of Bethlehem may we fall to our knees and worship Him as our Savior and Lord. In the Name of our Mighty God, amen.
submitted by Dr. Rich Menninger, retired Andrew B. Martin Professor of Religion