13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of men? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 15 He will eat curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right.
Christmas, the birth of Christ, is the gift that God gave to us. Actually, the birth is the pretty wrapping on the gift. A little baby lying in a manger and the group Shepards worshipping the newborn Son of God is the colorful paper around the greatest gift of all time. So, what were the ribbon and the bow? Mary the virgin that God trusted to carry Jesus was loving and obedient servant of the Lord, she was God’s ribbon on the Gift.
26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Now we are to the bow. What you ask would be the bow God used for the greatest gift of all time? Joseph, he was the bow. He was the seal that God used to finish the wrapping of this excellent, incomparable gift of all time. If you notice in Isaiah 7:15 above it says “when he knows enough to reject the wrong and CHOOSE the right” this shows the true humanity of Christ because He had to choose the right but it also shows the true nature and character of Joseph. If God had just randomly dropped Jesus into a household it could have been with someone that didn’t know the love and the power of God. Joseph, in most depictions of the Christmas story is just kind of “loaning” his wife to God to USE for His purpose but that, I believe, is a misrepresentation of the heart of God in the matter. How can we tell Joseph was a just and God honoring man? Because Joseph heard the angel he trusted God without question. In the book of Matthew we find this passage.
18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
So now we are to the true gift of Christmas. Jesus knew His purpose and God’s will for Him. Jesus being trained in the ways of the Lord, knowing scripture, God giving Him a Godly father, Joseph, to rightly interpret the scripture He learned. Jesus CHOOSING to follow God’s will is the gift that has no compare. What exactly did this loving gift that God so graciously gave for every man, woman, and child on the earth do?
17 learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow. 18 “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land;”
Scripture tells us why we need the gift. Telling of our unfruitfulness, our self-indulgence, our lust, our hopelessness;
9 What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. 10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God.
This tells you what the gift does and why we so desperately need it, but there are other scriptures that tells how it works;
4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
With His sacrifice, once and for ALL, He carried our sicknesses; He took God’s condemnation of sin (disobedience) upon Himself; CHOOSING to take OUR punishment in place of US. We have been reconciled back to the God that loves us. Too many times you hear scoffers retort, “HOW could a loving God, that SAYS He loves us, send ANYONE to a eternal torment?” What the scoffers don’t CHOOSE to acknowledge is that God condemns the disobedience, not the people. God wants no one to die in torment, and that is why OUR world goes on. This isn’t the world God gave us. Instead this is the world WE have made from the one we were given when WE chose our own path. If anyone lands in Hell it is because of the CHOICES that our loving Father has allowed us to make on our own.
So, on Christmas morning when you find your gifts under your tree remember once you take the wrapping paper off it is the gift inside where the value resides. The child in the manger is the pretty wrapping that everyone embraces, but the gift of eternal redemption is something people just can’t find a place for in their wardrobe. Know that God loves you. God loves you in ways that are totally unfathomable. God sent the blessed sacrifice for everyone but only those that unwrap the gift and treasure the gift will KNOW God’s LOVE.
16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
P.S. This is a note to all the “believers” out there. In your congregation when you have someone that has stumbled and winds up pregnant out of wedlock before you look down on that person remember one “unplanned pregnancy” (unplanned on a human level) brought salvation to us all. Children have always been and always will be a blessing from God. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.