Summary: Everyone looks forward to receiving Christmas presents but what about the presence of Jesus? Tony Abrams said, “Christmas is not about presents but His presence!” The greatest Christmas present came in the presence of Jesus.
INTRODUCTION: Everyone looks forward to receiving Christmas presents. The Jews had been waiting hundreds of years for their Messiah to come. The greatest Christmas present came in the presence of Jesus. 2000 years later, Jesus is still the greatest present. Tony Abrams said, “Christmas is not about presents but His presence!” Let’s see why the presence of Jesus is and always will be the greatest present of all.
1) The ultimate exchange. The days before Christmas are understandably busy but the days following Christmas are pretty busy too. It’s when people head back to the stores to exchange their gifts for something they really wanted. Well, Jesus made an exchange too. Phil. 2:6-8, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!”
Seems strange that the One who enjoyed a living arrangement we could only begin to imagine became willing to exchange it for the ugliness of earth. Don’t get me wrong, Earth is a beautiful place but compared to heaven it must look like a dump.
And not only that, but Jesus left heaven as the Creator and became willing to be among the created. Left as the Master of the universe in exchange for becoming a helpless baby. Left a place where he was worshipped in exchange for a place where he would be whipped.
Why was he willing to perform such an incredible exchange? He did it because he loves us and he wants us to be saved.
Love brought the Savior to the world. John 3:16 says that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever would believe in him would not perish but have eternal life. There was a need for Jesus coming to earth; we needed a Savior; we couldn’t save ourselves.
However, having a need doesn’t necessarily constitute an action to meet that need. Knowing there are starving children in Africa doesn’t automatically result in me helping to feed them. Something else has to be there besides awareness-love. And true love is displayed in action-not just desire. I can have the desire to help but never act on it. In Jesus’ birth we see the result of the Father’s active love and compassion for the world. The Father let go of his precious son, knowing he would be subjected to mistreatment and abuse. Such was his love for the world that God was willing to let his Son go to the cross so we wouldn’t perish.
However, although God loves the world as a whole he also loves each one of us as an individual. If you were the only one in the whole world that needed salvation Jesus still would’ve left heaven and come to earth.
And consider this-not only did Jesus make this exchange because he loves you; he also did it because he wants to be loved by you. Jesus exchanged heaven for earth because he wanted to have an intimate relationship with people; he wanted the world to see him, touch him, know him in a way previously unknown since the Garden of Eden. Jesus’ presence gave people a glimpse of what things were like for Adam and Eve in the Garden. Everything changed when Adam and Eve sinned. That intimacy was removed-exchanged for a lesser relationship between God and man. Since then there was a boundary between God and man. Sinful man could not be in the presence of a Holy God. God presented a form of himself to certain people, like Abraham, Moses and Elijah, but it was limited to a select few. And once a year, the high priest was allowed to enter the holy of holies, the innermost room of the temple where God’s presence was, but that was it.
Now, after all these years, God would come to the world-not once a year, not for a select few but every day, for everyone. Now, because he was willing to become flesh, God could continually be in the presence of man. John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Now, the world could see God face to face. People could talk with him and learn straight from his own lips. Before, people had the word of God spoken through the Prophets. But now the Word became flesh and people could see and hear from him directly. It’s like if you have a pen pal. You spend years writing back and forth and then you have the opportunity to see each other face to face. Your pen pal leaves where he was to come and be with you. How exciting would it be to finally meet and spend time with the one whom you knew only through letters? Jesus left the glory of heaven to come be Immanuel-God with us.