The Gift of Self
There are plenty of videos posted on the Internet of the glee of children upon opening their Christmas presents. Parents have gone all out in recent years to buy their children more and more elaborate gifts. Once it was enough for parents to give their children bicycles, but nowadays we have parents giving gaming consoles, tablets, mobile phones or even laptops to their children in an effort to please them and give them happiness.
In order to afford such expensive gifts, many parents resort to working long hours, often at the expense of spending time with their children. Without realising it, these parents often withhold the greatest gift they could have given to their children – the gift of themselves for their children. While the children may experience glee in receiving these grand gifts, but often the memories that they cherish once they grow up are not the gifts that they receive, but rather the family traditions or time spent with family.
In our relationship with God, he could have given us anything in all of the universe. However, he chose to give himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ. In our passage today, we read of the amazing fact that it is “not angel [God] helps, but Abraham’s descendants” (v16). It is because God helps us that Jesus had to be made like human beings – “fully human in every way” (v17). For those of us who have been celebrating Christmas for decades, we sometimes take this for granted – “Oh, of course God came down to Earth as Christ.” But the enormity of this fact should not and must not be lost on us.
Some theologians have aptly called this the “scandal of particularity.” The God of the universe did not just come to earth as “general” human being throughout all of mankind’s history, but rather, he came to earth at a particular time in history, as a particular man, in a particular town to specific parents, to be the saviour of the world. We should always marvel at this fact. What condescension for our benefit! He became a human being “so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil…” (v14)
Every human being has been “held in slavery by our free of death” (v15) whether we acknowledge it or not. God in his great mercy and grace, came as Jesus Christ the human being, to become a “merciful and faithful high priest…[making] atonement for the sins of the people” (v17). That is the greatest gift of all to us from God! While it can be wonderful that God provides material blessings to us, our greatest need remains our eternal destiny apart from God.
Like the parents who give themselves to their children by spending time and making sacrifices to raise them well in the Lord, God gives himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ. Let us always stand in awe of this amazing news as we celebrate Christmas. Let us emulate God himself by giving ourselves to our family, friends and those in need. Material blessings are wonderful, but a reconciled relationship with the Creator of the universe is greater.
- Pray for God’s Spirit to work in us so that we will never cease to be amazed by the coming of Christ
- Pray for God’s Spirit to work in us so that we are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to bless others this Christmas season, especially with our own time