Christmas gifts are part of our celebration of the season.
We often wrap packages creatively to add to the festivity. Sometimes we add some misdirection to add a sense of fun and mystery. One year we gave our daughter a hamster for Christmas. But first we gave her the ball the hamster runs around in to confuse her, before we gave her the rodent. Sometimes, we take the Matryoshka doll approach. We wrap small packages in successively larger boxes. Sometimes we act like a light package is extremely heavy. Maybe you wrap a globe to look like a basketball. You camouflage an educational gift to look like a toy.
How do you wrap the best gift of all?
Luke 2:6 describes the delivery of God’s gift.
And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.
In 2 Corinthians 9:15, the apostle Paul referred to Jesus as an indescribable gift from God.
Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
If you were God, how would you wrap an indescribable gift?
Jesus came wrapped in prophecy.
Isaiah 7:14 tells us that Jesus would be born of a virgin.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Isaiah 9:6 said that this child would have a significant future.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
He would come from the family of King David, according to Isaiah 11:1.
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
Micah 5:2 identifies his birthplace, the city of Bethlehem.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
God wrapped Jesus in prophecy. He also wrapped Jesus in history.
According to Galatians 4:4, Jesus was born at a certain point of history, when everything was ready.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,
God wrapped Jesus in prophecy and in history. Jesus also came wrapped in mystery.
Luke 2:9 explains that Jesus’ birth was accompanied by angelic messengers
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.
Luke 2:14–17 gives more clues about this mystery. This is the incarnation—the glory of God in human form.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.
Imagine that your parents or spouse or a friend spend all year long looking for the perfect gift for you. They pick out something they know you will love. It is something you will exclaim, “It’s what I always wanted. They wrap the gift creatively. It has shiny paper and beautiful bow. It has a tag with your name on it. They place the gift prominently in front of the Christmas tree where you can’t miss it. But rather than open the package and enjoy the gift, you leave it sitting under the tree. You push it to the side. You ignore it.
God has given the best gift of all to you and me. The gift came wrapped in prophecy, history, and mystery. To enjoy the gift, we have to receive it.
In John 1:12, we read,
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
God offers each one of us the gift of salvation, the gift of forgiveness. He offers us the gift of becoming part of his family. This Christmas, let me encourage you to receive his gift.
This is the synopsis of a message at First Central Baptist Church in Chicopee, MA, on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2014.