As we move from November to December, we also move from Thanksgiving to Christmas. But that doesn’t mean we move away from giving thanks to God. Quite the opposite.
When we focus on what Christmas is truly about, our thanksgiving should increase. And when we think about what we celebrate at Christmas and what it means to our lives and our marriage, it should bring much thankfulness and great joy.
What Christmas is Truly About
The apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 1:8-9: “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
Peter tells us here what Christmas is really all about: God sent Jesus to earth so that we could be saved from an eternity in hell, which we—as sinners–deserve.
The account of the Christmas story—the story of Jesus’ birth–is found in Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-20.
My favorite account, however, is a more concise telling by Paul. It is from Galatians 4:4-7: “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”
This passage gives us the entire story of what Christmas is all about. It tells of the coming of Jesus–God’s only Son–to earth. But in Paul’s account, the story does not end there. He also tells why Jesus came–so that we could be redeemed by the forgiveness of our sins and adopted by God into His family as His children.
Paul writes about this redemption through faith in Christ in Colossians 1:19-22: “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”
This is what we celebrate at Christmas. It is only because of what Jesus has done for us that we can have salvation. And it is only because of this that God sends the “Spirit of his Son into our hearts” (Galatians 4:6) and gives us the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) that is so necessary to have the marriage God intends for us.
God’s Perfect Gift Keeps on Giving
From the time we are children, gifts are a major element of Christmas. But the true gift of Christmas is the gift God gave to us.
Romans 6:23 tells us about it: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Paul’s grateful response to that gift is found in 2 Corinthians 9:15: “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
And this most wonderful of gifts keeps on giving!
God’s gift of forgiveness and salvation opens the way for us to have the gift of a God-centered marriage.
For our marriage to be the beautiful gift God wants it to be, we must begin by accepting God’s gift of salvation through faith in Jesus. (If you have never received this gift, please read Meet Jesus to find out more. This is the greatest gift you could ever receive at Christmas, or any other time.)
Forty-one years ago, Sabra and I had our first date five days before Christmas. Little did I know then that it would lead to God’s gift of such a wonderful wife and life together. But it hasn’t been without problems. We’ve dealt with many troubles in our years as husband and wife. As I’m sure you have also dealt with difficulties together as a couple.
Jesus was certainly right when He said in John 16:33: “In this world you will have trouble.” But He was also right when He added in John 16:33: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
One of the ways Christ has helped us overcome our troubles is by giving us to each other to see us through these hard times.
I completely agree with Solomon’s words in Proverbs 18:22: “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” Men, join me in committing to remember what God says in Proverbs 31:30: “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
And let us all affirm the truth of God found in James 1:17-18: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.”
So this Christmas as we think about gifts, let us not forget the greatest gift of all. The perfect gift of salvation God offers us through faith in His Son, Jesus.
And may His perfect gift keep on giving as we share His gift of love to all those around us–especially our husband or wife. May we always give thanks with grateful hearts for the One who came to save us and for His blessing of our marriage relationship.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
♦ Read this week’s teaching together. Discuss what God has taught you and how He has spoken to you through it.
♦ Recall some of those difficult times the two of you have shared. Talk about how God helped you through these hard times by bringing you together. Thank Him for the blessed gift you are to each other.
♦ Discuss other ways that your marriage has been and is a gift to both of you. Use this as a time to affirm your commitment to God and to each other.
♦ Conclude your time together by praying to God and thanking Him for the gift that your marriage is. Ask Him to help you to continue to see ways your marriage is a gift from Him. Ask Him to use you to help others see the gift He offers in His Son, and in their marriages.
Until next week, may God bless you in all His wonderful ways,
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