God’s Gift of Christmas – 1

Recently, we had our church Christmas party after lunch. This is the only church I know that gives gifts to each other every Christmas! No, I’m not talking about one or two rich families giving gifts to the rest of the church. I’m talking of each family giving gifts to everyone in church. It was a joyous time! The gifts we shared with each other were not so much expensive gifts. We are just average folks. The gifts we shared were not raffle gifts. We have no big time donors and sponsors here. But they were gifts given from the heart.

I’d like to share with you God’s Gift for Christmas. Do you know God’s Gift for you this Christmas? It’s the most costly gift of all gifts. It’s the best gift of all gifts. It is the most personal gift of all gifts.

All the gifts in the world will just fade away. But God’s gift for you this Christmas lasts for eternity. God’s gift is not a thing, but a Person.

1. The Gladness of the Son. Isa 9:1, “But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali.” (ESV).

First, Christmas brings gladness in the midst of sadness. Isa. 9:6 proclaims the Glory of Christmas. But it is also set against the background of the Gloom of Christmas. Zebulun and Naphtali are two of the twelve tribes of Israel, living in the northern border of Israel (Northeast Galilee, West of the Jordan River), making up the land of Galilee. “They are always the first to suffer from the invasion of the Assyrian King (2 Ki. 15:29), marking the beginning of the dark days of Israel.”[1]

“Anguish” (ESV) or “distress” (NKJV) is from the Heb. muwtsaq, “narrowness” (Strong); “constraint” (BDB). Israel was pressured from the North by the Assyrians. “More heavily oppressed” (NKJV) is from the Heb. kavedh, “to make heavy” (hiphil perfect). (TWOT/OTWS) God caused Israel to suffer in the hands of the Assyrians because of her disobedience and rebellion. Christmas came in a situation of sadness.

Brian Bill wrote, “While the angels were proclaiming “peace on earth,” Herod was preparing to annihilate infants; while Mary was worshipping, other mothers were weeping for their children (see Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:18) . . . Christmas joy is best understood with the junk of life all around us because gladness comes when we’re grieving . . . Is that where you’re at today? That’s OK if you are because that’s exactly where Immanuel will meet you.[2]

But now Isaiah says, “in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations . . . you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil” (Isa. 9: 1, 3, ESV)

And so the glory of Christmas is the coming of Christ to Galilee. It is in Galilee where Christ started and based His ministry here on earth. The Glory of Christmas is the Gladness that God Brings to Suffering Israel. This Gladness is brought about by the birth of a wonderful baby! For Unto Them is Born This Day in the City of David, a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord!


[1] John MacArthur, gen. ed., The MacArthur Study Bible (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 968.

[2] Brian Bill, “Isaiah’s Audacious Hope,” in http://www.sermoncentral.com, accessed December 10, 2008.

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