December 18, 2017

Grace of Christmas

Don Harrelson

Christmas is a holiday that is celebrated by most in this country. Even those who do not call themselves Christians celebrate the holiday in some form or fashion. Many see the holiday as a season of peace and good will toward men. A time to spend with friends and family. A time to show friends and family how much you care for them. During this season, there are parties and get-togethers, cookies, candy and cakes. Festive meals and festivals of music and entertainment thrive. Traditions abound. But through all of this tradition and festivity, many have stripped the holiday of the cause — Jesus, and they just embrace the effects — the gifts, the celebrations, the traditions, and so on.

But if it wasn’t for God sending his Son into the world to redeem it, there would be no holiday. There would be no Christmas. The Christmas season is all of God’s grace

Ever since the beginning of man God has been gracious to bring about Christmas.

Think with me a bit about God’s grace of a redeemer

Grace to Adam – Sin entered the world through Adam and Eve. And at that point God could have given them what they fully deserved. But in His grace He still desired a relationship with them and with mankind and He promised a redeemer

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Gen. 3:15)

Grace to Abraham – It was through Abraham that God was going to bring the promised redeemer to save all the nations.

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Gen. 12:1-3).

And this wasn’t some promise that Abraham would not be able to enjoy during his lifetime. This grace wasn’t just pie-in-the-sky, but God gave Abraham and Sarah a son in their old age. A son for them to enjoy — Isaac.

Grace to David – God showed grace to David by choosing him to be the king of Israel. That grace was initially given to Judah

The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. (Gen 49:10).

Then the promise was given to one family out of that tribe — David’s.

And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 14I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: 15But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. 16And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. (2 Sam. 7:12-16)

The promise that the king of Israel will always be from David’s line; the promised Messiah would be through His seed.

Grace to Ahaz – God showed grace to King Ahaz, by giving him a sign. He wasn’t asking for a sign, but God gave him one anyway. A sign that this Messiah could not be just any man, but a man that would have a unique birth. He would be born of a virgin. What a wonder. What grace!

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isa. 7:14)

Grace to Mary – God showed His grace to Mary. She found favor in God’s eyes Mary was a descendant of David, through Nathan, and of Abraham, but weren’t there others who fit that description, but she found grace in God’s eyes. The messianic seed would come through her.

And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. (Luke 1:28)

Grace to Joseph – Joseph was also a descendant of David, but through Solomon. It was through this line that the heir to the throne would come. But weren’t there other descendants that could fit the description. But God showed his grace to Joseph to be the human father to His son Jesus. To be the guardian, protector, and provider for the Messiah during his childhood.

Grace to the shepherds – The house of Israel has always been keepers of sheep. They were keepers when they went to Egypt. King David was a shepherd .Jesus would be the Great Shepherd. And so these Shepherds found grace to be the first ones to hear the angelic announcement of the birth of the Messiah. As shepherds they found grace to be the representatives of the house of Israel for that historic birth announcement.

Grace to the Wise men – God gave them grace through a star. The announcement of His son’s birth came to the gentiles and to the kings of other nations. He was to be the savior of all the world. Grace.

Grace to Gentiles – Jesus came to his own — the nation of Israel, but his own received him not (John 1:11). But he came to be Savior to all, not just to Israel. And grace is shown to the Gentiles

I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. (Rom. 11:11)

Grace to you – But God’s grace is not just shown to groups of people, and nations, but it is shown to the individual. And His grace is not limited to Biblical times and Biblical people. But it is for now and it is shown to you. Christmas was about the individual. The gift of God to the individual.

“For God so loved the World that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)

God’s gift to the world — His only Son to be their Savior — is a gift of grace.

“But by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

Now there is nothing wrong with giving of Christmas gifts, and having Christmas parties, and celebrating the time with friends and family. But let’s not forget Jesus. For He is the true Christmas gift.

Don Harrelson is the pastor of Cumberland Bible Church, Cumberland, Maryland

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

Submit other comments here.