Romans 1: 8-17
Jesus, our Christmas gift, is a realization that all the other fancy
wrapped Christmas gifts that we are preparing to give one another next week
take a distant second to our best gift, Jesus Christ.
Most of our Christmas gifts bring a fleeting pleasure, and a few may bring a longer lasting pleasure, but the gift of Jesus Christ is an eternal life-changing event that hopefully will lead all of us to heaven.
But, like any gift, we must accept it, and even more so with the gift of Jesus Christ, for we must accept Him into ourselves as part of our very existence.
Jesus is our eternal Christmas gift.
Before we go on letís take a look at John 3:16Ö
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.
Very simply, what this verse is telling us is that Jesus, our Christmas
gift, is really a gift of perfect heavenly love from God.
In Romans 1:8-17, Paul writes about Jesus, our Christmas gift.
8. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.
When we accept the gift of Jesus Christ, we find that we become thankful for
all the other things that are in the heavenly will of God.
We more clearly see the things of God that are peaceful, loving, and promote life, even life everlasting.
And with this new eyesight, we can easily discern the things that are of this world, and that are filled with violence and cause millions of people and billions of other animals to suffer and die every year.
It is with this heavenly vision that we come to understand why Paul says the things he does.
9. For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His
Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you,
10. always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you.
T. S. Nicholson and I were recently talking about the difference between the
believers who truly live in the heavenly will of God, and those who continue
to live in the corrupt ways of this world.
We also have a deep sorrow for those who want to continue to live in the corrupt ways of the world, and for those they harm (humans and other animals) in the process, but we have a deep desire to be with those who are true children of God and work to help free creation from its present corruption.
Jesus, our Christmas gift, needs to be accepted into our hearts, minds, and souls, that we would become one with Him and help end all the worldly violence, bloodshed, and death that continues to flow all over this earth.
And Paul goes onÖ
11. For I long to see you in order that I may impart some spiritual gift to
you, that you may be established;
12. that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine.
We should all desire these things until this world is freed from its
But in the meantime, we should all be living as the peacemaking children of God who help free creation from its present corruption.
13. And I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that often I have planned
to come to you (and have been prevented thus far) in order that I might
obtain some fruit among you also, even as among the rest of the Gentiles.
14. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.
We should all feel the same way that Paul feels.
We all need to feel the pain and suffering of the whole of creation until the day that it is freed from its present corruption.
We all need to receive Jesus our Christmas gift and be empowered to separate ourselves from the evils of this world, but at the same time have a strong desire to help free creation from its present corruption and help transform it back into the heavenly will of God.
15. Thus, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are
16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
17. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "But the righteous man shall live by faith."
Our hope and prayer is that we all live by faith, and we can if we have
received Jesus, our Christmas gift, and allowed Him to transform us into His
Now, letís look at Isaiah 7:10-16, where he tells the people about their coming Christmas gift, Jesus Christ.
10. Then the LORD spoke again to Ahaz, saying,
11. "Ask a sign for yourself from the LORD your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven."
12. But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, nor will I test the LORD!"
Ahaz was not like the other kings and, for the most part, he seems to have
wanted to live in His heavenly will, which is the reason he was tested in
Note carefully how Isaiah addresses the people about Ahazís response.
13. Then he said, "Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well?
Most of the people today are living and acting in the same way that they
were in Isaiahís time, for they are living in the corrupt and evil ways of
this world, and they have failed to receive Jesus, our Christmas gift, into
their hearts and souls; thus, the Lord is speaking to them as well.
The Lord is trying to turn the people away from the corrupt ways of this world toward heaven and His heavenly will for them to live by, so Isaiah tells them about a future Christmas gift.
14. "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will
be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.
15. "He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good.
He is telling the people that Jesus, our Christmas gift, will know to refuse evil and choose good from the time He is being weaned off His motherís milk, unlike the people who appear to have been choosing evil over good.
16. "For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the
land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken.
God will answer their prayers, just as He does ours, but we have the
responsibility to repent of our worldly ways and choose the heavenly way of
There is something very wrong with most of the people of the world today, for we have all been shown Jesus, our Christmas gift in many ways and forms, yet they still refuse to receive Him.
Then in Matthew 1:18-25, Jesus reminds us all about the Christmas gift He gave us 2,000 years ago, and how it began, that we would truly believe and choose His heavenly will and way, and reject the worldly and evil ways that surround us.
18. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.
We need to realize that very few people in that day or even today would
believe that Maryís pregnancy was by the Holy Spirit.
People of the world almost always think the worst, for they lack the heavenly love to believe otherwise.
19. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly.
It is obvious that Joseph loved Mary, and as we are told, he was righteous, but he just as obviously had doubts; so God, in His love, wanted to assure Joseph that this was all from Him.
20. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared
to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take
Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy
21. "And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins."
This is Jesus, our Christmas gift.
22. Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the
prophet might be fulfilled, saying,
23. "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which translated means, "God with us."
This is the kind of loving assurance that God wants to give all of us about what He wants us to do in His heavenly will.
24. And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord
commanded him, and took her as his wife,
25. and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.
This proves that the heavenly love of God was in Joseph, but is this kind of
love in us, too?
We sure hope and pray that it is, but if it isnít, then each and every one of us who has any doubt needs to ask the Lord to help us get to this same state of love and assurance that Joseph had.
Jesus, our Christmas gift is a gift of love.
We hope and pray that we all have or will receive Him.
So, as we look forward during this Advent season to celebrating Christmas next week, letís not forget who and what we are celebrating: Jesus, our Christmas gift of love.
And, if we are indeed filled with this heavenly love, then we should also be living in the heavenly will of God, where there is no pain, suffering, or death; thus, we should be doing everything in our power to end all human caused suffering and death here on earth, beginning with what we eat, especially what we are planning to eat on Christmas.
We should be planning all our meals around the abundance of plant foods that God created for us, and commanded us to eat in Eden (Genesis 1:29), and we should extend our heavenly love to the whole of creation and let the animals enjoy peace on earth, just as we want to.
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