Are you a person that likes to plan ahead? Do you have all your Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving nearly every year? (Some would say that Thanksgiving is already late; I guess they are truly early shoppers.)
Generally speaking, I don’t plan that far ahead, especially for gift-giving. It’s not so much that I’m not capable of thinking that far ahead, but I can’t keep the secret long enough. When I have in my possession what I believe to be the perfect gift for my loved ones, I want to tell them about it. I want to show them. I want to hand it over to them and watch them enjoy it.
God plans his gift-giving way ahead. When Adam and Eve fell into sin it was immediately apparent there was a need for a gift. Our first parents might not have realized at first just how impossible it was for them to work out their own salvation, but they instinctively realized that their actions had destroyed what had been a perfect relationship with God. They felt shame. They hid from the God who had been their best friend and companion prior to their action standing around the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The impossibility of them working out their own salvation to make themselves right with God once again became more and more painfully obvious with each passing year.
Though Adam and Eve hadn’t fully realized the implications of the first sin, God immediately announced his Christmas gift to the world. A Savior would one day come to restore what they had destroyed. God planned it thousands of years before he carried his plan to completion. Really, it was longer than that, for God knew in eternity what would have to be done for us and for our salvation.
It is hard for me to keep a secret when I am planning a Christmas gift. In God’s case, it was imperative that he not keep this gift secret. Adam and Eve and every other sinner desperately needed to hear that something was being done about their sin. They needed to hear that as dreadfully out of control as human beings are in their sin, God had it all under control.
As you look at the prophecies concerning the Christ this year, notice how mater-of-fact-ly God speaks. that every time God speaks about the Savior in the Old Testament. Bible scholars call it a prophetic perfect tense of the verb. When God prophesies concerning the future Messiah in the Old Testament, it is in the past tense. So sure of himself is our God that long before Jesus was born in time he considered salvation a sure thing.
God planned ahead. Some people wouldn’t recognize his gift, even though it was right in front of their eyes. For some, God’s gift didn’t fit their own plans, so they ignored it or shoved it out of the way. Many thanked him for his gift, and continue to do so to this very day each Christmas.
Whether you have all your Christmas shopping done already, or whether you will be at the stores on December 23rd or 24th, recognize the reason we give gifts— to remind us of the greatest gift ever given. Celebrate the birth of the Savior who came to give his life so that we might have life to the full— life eternal. May God bless your celebration of the birth of the Savior.