The Reason for the Season (12-18-2013)

“Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.”(1 Peter 1:10-12 ESV)

I remember a few years ago sitting in the living room until the wee hours of Christmas morning with my wife. We were waiting for our children to finally fall asleep so that we could place the rest of their presents under the tree. It was quite the waiting game. Never underestimate the will of young kids! When at last they were asleep, we brought the gifts out and scurried to bed for a couple of hours of sleep. As I think back to that night the one thing that is so vivid is how much excitement, how much anticipation there was for Christmas morning – when my girls would finally receive the gifts for which they had been waiting.  My daughters are much older now and probably wouldn’t be able to tell you what it was under the tree that year. Yet, as the calendar turns to December 25th and school winds down for the semester, the excitement builds again. And like the little girls they were a few years ago, the anticipation begins to mount. . . Christmas is coming, gifts are coming.

Imagine what it would be like to look so forward to Christmas, yet with every passing year there was no tangible gift. How long would you continue to hunger for it? How long would you remain hopeful?

The Gift of Christmas is really the meaning of the Bible. Throughout the Old Testament, there is a glimmer of the promise (beginning with Gen. 3:15), a hope for a future salvation. This hope, for those who believed, was so great that it altered their lives. Consider the great “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11. This veritable who’s-who of the Old Testament is commended for their faith in the promise (Heb. 11:39-40). We can think also of Simeon, who upon glancing at Jesus as an infant proclaimed, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation.” (Luke 2:29-30) Look also to Paul, so convinced and anxious for being with his Lord that he could say, “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.”(Phil.1:23)

The center of the Bible is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the ultimate Gift for humanity. So worthy was just the promise of Him, that those looking forward could not be satisfied by earthly things. So sufficient was a brief encounter with Him, that an old man was ready to die. So joyful is eternity in His presence, that an apostle could not be derailed from his mission. The entire heavens anticipated His coming, all of creation yearns for His return.

In this season of giving and receiving, let us not lose sight of the only Gift that will fulfill us for eternity. May we all consider the gift of salvation, bought with the blood of Jesus, as the best present of all.

With love and thankfulness for you all,

Jeremy Cooley

P.S. – Christmas across the whole Bible is the topic of our upcoming Christmas Eve service. We hope you can join us at 8pm Christmas Eve for an evening that I pray will lead us into a greater love for God, a deeper appreciation for the unity of the Bible, and a renewed sense of awe at the incarnate God who came to save.

One thought on “The Reason for the Season (12-18-2013)

  • Jeremy Cooley Post author

    Quick note – If this post seems familiar to some of you, you are correct! This is a (slightly modified) version of a devotion that I wrote a couple of years ago.

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