What we need most for God to do in our world and in our lives are the very things we cannot possibly do ourselves. They are also quite often the things that we, in our frequent fits of arrogance (it’s called human pride), are tempted to think we can.
God’s people in first century Palestine were quite sure they needed the Romans thrown out of their country and excised from their lives. And so they fell prey not only to the Romans but to a succession of pseudo-saviors raising rebellion and multiplying misery.
Then, almost unnoticed except by a few shepherds out on the hills near Bethlehem and some animals cramped in their stable by the presence of a guy from Nazareth and his wife who’d managed to turn the place into a delivery room, God does something to truly save his people that the mightiest general and the strongest army on earth could never have done.
Because no one who has ever lived or who ever will live has been able to live a life completely grace-filled and sin-free, perfectly righteous and yet perfectly gentle, absolutely holy and yet absolutely winsome, God sends to us at Bethlehem the very best Christmas gift, his own Son, to lift up the fallen sons of Adam and daughters of Eve to be the adopted sons and daughters of God and “joint heirs” with Christ of the very best blessings of the Father.
Ah, we could never have done that on our own! It’s God’s gift to us, and all we can do now is to accept it through faith as a gift—or not. It comes in no other way. It is a gift. And it can be received in no other way. While all of eternity is not long enough for us to adequately praise God for the gift he has given, how dare we even begin to think that, could we give them, a thousand years of our praises, our songs, our worship, our good deeds, our pious ritual, would ever be enough to in any way even begin pay God back for that wonderful Gift? And don’t we realize that to refuse to accept a gift as a gift is to dishonor the Giver?
Yes, worship the Giver!
Yes, live to honor Him!
Yes, join the angels in singing his praises and proclaiming his salvation!
But do it with real joy because you have opened your hands and your heart to freely receive the Gift God gave at Bethlehem to do for you and for me what we could never do for ourselves.