December 24, 2023
Dr. Paul Cannings
MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all!! So glad you decided to join us this Sunday for a birthday celebration of Christ.
A gentleman called me years ago and with urgency asked for me to come to the hospital because his pregnant wife could die within the next few hours. As I made my way there, I called others to join me so we could all work together to support the family and pray. Arriving, the gentleman quickly approached me and said I may have to decide between my wife and child. They already had three children so it was excruciating. He said I hope my wife will not wake up right now, even though we need to decide this together, because she is going to immediately, without a second thought, let the child live. He went on to say, “that is just the kind of woman she is.” He knew his wife would choose her children first without a second thought.
The birth of Christ was not a second thought (Genesis 3:15; as soon as Adam signed, salvation was guaranteed) no matter how humiliating it would be for the Lord God who gloriously reigns over all (Colossians 1:15-18). To come from heaven to earth to a poor family; no place to lay His head (John 9:58), a holy God, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, to die on a Roman cross (the lowest way to die) with thieves on both sides. It did not matter how low He must go to win us back to God because what was foremost is ‘God so loves the world……’ (John 3:16). His love is representative of His nature (1 John 4:7-8); an innate reaction to our need represents who He is; “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…..” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8; NASB) It did not matter the sacrifice, the poverty He experienced, and the rejection He encountered or the lack of respect from Jewish leaders (Matthew 12:22-29). What matters to God is one thing and that is to provide a way to win mankind back to Himself no matter the cost. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13).
Christmas is a vivid portrayal of God’s commitment to do whatever it takes to have a genuine relationship with us. The question is what are we doing with the gift and do we offer our lives back to Him as a gift?