Whether or not the liturgical calendar is even on your radar, we hope these devotions give you an opportunity to think about the incarnation, the reason Jesus came, and afford you the opportunity to dialogue with your family and others about the glory and greatness of Christ our treasure and King.
This is week 4 of our Advent Devotionals for 2019. See week 1 here. See week 2 here. See week 3 here.
A Wonderful Christmas Time
Today, we finally get to the New Testament! Our text is Galatians 4:4-7.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Christmas is Never Late
I remember that feeling of being so excited about Christmas morning I just couldn’t stand it, don’t you? I remember being a kid and it seeming like Christmas was never going get here. And as an adult the Christmases just keep coming, don’t they? It seems they come faster and faster year after year. As a kid, we’re like Alvin & the Chipmunks: Please Christmas don’t be late. But here’s what our text tells us. Christmas is right on time.
The first Christmas happened right when it was supposed to. You see, Christmas is an unfolding of God’s eternal plan. His covenant of redemption. This is a covenant between the Eternal Godhead – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father determined to save men, the Son willingly offered His life for men, the Spirit seals are our hearts and points us to Christ.
Here is a word we need to understand this Christmas: sovereignty. God is sovereign. He is sovereign over plants and planets, over continents and constellations, mountains and men. History is His story. We don’t have an answer to every why that happens, but we have the ironclad truth that is also a comforting pillow to rest our heads on at night and that is this: God is sovereign.
All history is worked out by God so that Jesus came, right on time. God the Father sent God the Son. And let me offer a few words of hope for you this Christmas: God’s timing is never late. We may not fully understand our trials during this season, but we do know this: God is faithful, God is in control, and God has a purpose. So, we can wait on His timing in faith.
Christmas is Always about Redeeming
“God sent forth His Son…to redeem.”
Redeem, redeem, redeem is a mantra of secular Christmas. Gift cards here, coupon codes there, buy one get one free sales. Christmas has become a mega cash flow for retailers. But Christmas has always been about redeeming. But the greatest redemption that Christmas points us to is God redeeming us from the curse of the law.
Under the Law means that we stood under its condemnation. The Scriptures tell us that cursed is everyone who does not abide by the words of this law. But here is the good news: Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:13).
Christ was born under the Law as a man. 100% God who took on 100% Human nature. God the Son now the eternal God-man and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus lived righteously under the Law, keeping it in every single way. But then He became a curse for us! He became one treated like a lawbreaker even though He kept it perfectly. Why? To redeem us!
Jesus paid the price. Now, this wasn’t a price He paid to Satan or some other power. The price He paid was the price that God Himself, as revealed through His Law, demands for sin: death. And furthermore, as Christ hung suspended between heaven and earth on the Cross, God unleashed the fury of His wrath on the Son. The wrath of God was satisfied in Christ for those who come to Him in faith. Those who look to Jesus in faith, have been redeemed from the curse of the law
A lot of transactions take place at Christmas, don’t they? And even the day after Christmas you might be returning a few things. But there is not a greater transaction to meditate upon this time of year than that which took place on Calvary. Our sin was laid upon Christ. And by faith, His righteousness is laid upon us. We are redeemed in Him from the curse of the Law! There’s great hope in this for us. It means if everything else falls through this Christmas, God is still for us in Christ.
As wonderful as Christmas time is, it’s not always easy is it? Sometimes it can be a very difficult season. Days are darker, loved ones are missed, finances may be tight. But hear this good news: Christmas is always about redeeming – namely that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law. The Law of God condemns you, but Christ has met the requirement of the Law so that we can be forgiven and brought into a right relationship with God.
And that’s what we turn to in our 3rd point:
At Christmas, Family is Everything
Our physical family is a blessing during the holidays. It’s fun to get together. It’s even fun seeing cousin Eddie once a year. But this text speaks of an even more important family than your physical family. Christians have been adopted into a new family. This doesn’t mean our physical family is irrelevant. They are still important and still a wonderful blessing.
But what it does mean is that we’ve been called out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light. Christians have been clothed in the righteous robes of Jesus and they can now come to God not as Judge but as Father.
And furthermore, we are family together. Christians are brothers and sisters together in a holy and heavenly family. Eternity will be one big family reunion where you love everyone perfectly in such a way that you couldn’t even love your physical family here on earth because of sin. And this family is realized here in part on earth in and through the local church.
So, you see, if you are alienated from your family this Christmas or if your family has rejected Christ, you have a Father in heaven who has redeemed you through the work of the Son and application by the Holy Spirit. You are free from your bondage of sin and your condemnation under the Law. You are now an heir. And you have a true family of brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ.
That’s what Christmas is about. It’s never late. It’s always about redemption. And family is everything because we’ve been adopted as sons and daughters by God.
Is that what you’re celebrating this season? If not, will you bow the knee to Christ right now? Will you be set free from sin, death, and the curse of the Law by closing with Christ in faith?
It’s a wonderful time to do it. Merry Christmas indeed.