The Divine Gift of Christmas

12-24-2023Weekly ReflectionRev. Emmanuel I. Ihemedu

Dear Brothers, & Sisters,

As we gather in this blessed season of Christmas, our hearts and homes are adorned with the festive spirit, evident in the myriad gifts beneath our Christmas trees. These earthly offerings, though wrapped with care, often fail to capture the essence of true gifting – they may not suit our tastes, might be returned, or simply lack the personal touch we yearn for.

Yet, amidst these transient tokens, there exists a gift of incomparable worth. This gift, small and unassuming, holds within it the immense love and grace of God. St. Paul, in awe of this divine offering, referred to it as "his indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15). This gift, unlike our worldly exchanges, is deeply personal, eternally practical, and forever lasting.

The story of this heavenly gift unfolds in the Gospel of Luke. The shepherds, upon hearing the angel's proclamation, hurried to Bethlehem and found Mary, Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger (Luke 2:15-20). This humble setting marked the arrival of our Savior, a moment that transformed the ordinary into the extraordinary, bringing the divine into our midst.

Isaiah prophesied this glorious event, proclaiming, “See, your Savior comes! See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him” (Isaiah 62:11-12). This promise, fulfilled in the birth of Jesus, brings us a gift that is not just for a season but for eternity.

The Psalms also echo this joyous revelation. “The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad” (PSALM 97:1), and “Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart” (Psalm 97:11-12). These verses remind us that the birth of Jesus is not merely an event in history, but a beacon of hope and joy for all humanity.

God, in His infinite understanding, knows us better than we know ourselves. As Jeremiah revealed, God knew us before our birth (Jeremiah 1:5), and as the Psalmist wrote, God is intimately acquainted with all our ways (Psalm 139). This knowledge assures that His gift to us - His Son, Jesus - is perfectly tailored to our deepest needs, offering forgiveness and eternal life (Romans 6:23).

This Christmas, let us rejoice in this eternal gift. Unlike the fleeting joys of earthly presents, the gift of Jesus Christ is a promise of everlasting life and love. As Jesus said, “those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life” (JOHN 5:24).

May this Christmas season fill your hearts with the true joy and everlasting peace that comes from receiving the greatest gift of all - the gift of God’s love through Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas and may God's profound love and joy be with you always!