Summary: The God of all creation pours his grace into our lives through the birth of Jesus, the gift of faith, and inclusion into his family
John 1:10-18 “God Among Us”
As many know, Faye and I will become grandparents in May. In preparation for this exciting event, Faye decided to send a baby quilt to our son, Ryan. This, however, was no ordinary baby quilt. It was the quilt that Faye’s mother had made for Ryan when he was a baby. This quilt was the work of love that is now being passed down from generation to generation. I’m sure that you can understand, when I say, this is not only a gift that keeps on giving, but it is also a gift that is much more valuable than the sum of its parts. It is a priceless gift.
I suspect that most of us cherish a similar priceless gift. The gift may have been given to us at Christmas time, for our birthday, or on the spur of the moment. It might be big or small, inexpensive or expensive—size and cost really do not matter. We will never willingly part with our gift because the message that it carries is so very much more than, “I didn’t know what else to give you for Christmas, so I thought I’d give you this,” or “This is just a reminder that you’re another year older.”
We celebrate God’s gift of his son, at Christmas time. We stand in awe of the depth of love and the intense commitment that the gift of the Christ child reveals to us. Truly the gift of Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving—the wonderful gives of forgiveness, life and salvation. Jesus is the priceless gift of sacrifice and love.
THE GOD OF CREATION
John celebrates the gift of Jesus in the first chapter of his gospel.
Look at all of creation and stand in awe that the God whose handiwork it is took on our humanness and became on of us. Our financial wellbeing, physical health and family relationships are humongous issues for us. In the scheme of the universe that is billions of light years big, and contains billions of galaxies and trillions of stars, we’re pretty small potatoes. We not small enough, though, to escape God’s notice and be objects of God’s love.
An early Christian hymn that is found in the letter to the Philippians celebrates the truth that Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking on the form of a slave, being born in human likeness … (Phil.2:6-7).” God, driven by his love for the crown of his creation and his desire to have a relationship with his creation, let nothing stand in his way and became on of us.
The reception that Jesus received was both shocking and humbling. Though Jesus had created all, his creation rejected him. The world did not recognize him and his own people did not receive him. To receive the King of kings and the Lord of lords in such a manner is truly shocking. The fact that Jesus did not return to the realms of the universe and leave us to fend for ourselves is truly humbling. This is a true demonstration of steadfast and overwhelming love.
THE GIFT OF FAITH AND FAMILY
Jesus overcame the rejection of his creation. To those people who turned against the masses and received him he gave them the ability to trust him and believe in him. Jesus not only offers to us the gift of salvation and a relationship with God, he also gives us the ability to believe—the gift of faith.
None of this is due to human effort. John emphasizes this when he says that those who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. We are recipients of gift upon gift.
Those who believe become children of God. They enter into a personal relationship with God—a child/parent relationship. Faith in Jesus Christ is not a bunch of rules and rituals; rather it is living in a relationship with the God of all creation. We call God our father and God lovingly calls us his children.
The psalmist says that the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. We gaze into the heavens and are awed by God’s greatness. We survey the wonders of the world and are amazed at God’s creative handiwork. Still, the heavens and earth do not give us a complete revelation of God.
Jesus reveals to us the glory of God. In Jesus we see the characteristics of God—the love, joy, peace, patience, etc. We catch a glimpse of God’s love, holiness, grace and mercy. These are characteristics of God that we cannot see in nature.