" A child has been born to us; God has given a son to us. He will be responsible for leading the people. His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6 (NCV).
I saw a sign on my way to work today. It said: “The first Christmas was very simple and it’s ok if yours is too.” It made me think of that first Christmas in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. It was really simple – it was animals and shepherds that welcomed this baby to the world. I’m sure they felt that there was something really special about that night. But I don’t think they understood that the birth of this little child was the greatest gift that was ever given.
Isaiah wrote about the birth of Jesus and many people were waiting for Him to come. They thought that when He came He would start a powerful kingdom, to set them free from their enemies and to bring good times of peace and rest. So when He was born in a lowly stable, they didn’t think He could be the One they were waiting for.
Much of Jesus’ life was probably like this – simply working with Joseph in a carpenter’s shop, helping His mother, growing up with His family. But in those days of growing up, Jesus learned to serve the others. He never tried to become something great so that people would praise Him. And He always did God’s will, never His own.
His life was completely different to everything that we as human beings think of as “great” in this world. He was gentle and humble in heart, and it was exactly by humbling Himself and serving that He became our Saviour and all the other things that Isaiah had prophesied – Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace… (Matthew 11:29; Philippians 2:7-8.)
While He lived on earth no one really understood the great gift that Jesus was. Even His best friends fought over who would sit beside Him when He got His kingdom. (Matthew 20:20-23.) It was only after they received the Holy Spirit that they understood the great sacrifice that Jesus made for all the people. And not only that, but they also understood that they could follow in His footsteps and become servants of others as well!
Then they understood that His kingdom was not of this earth and that He and His Father had planned something far more than they could ever think. (John 18:36.)
Jesus’ great gift to us was that He set us free from our sins and that He made it possible so that we can also overcome the sin in our human nature. We can also learn to say No to irritation, egoism, and wanting to be great in other people’s eyes, so that we can serve others in the way Jesus did.
I am really thankful that we remember Jesus as the greatest gift that was ever given! And not just remember Him, but follow Him and live humbly as He lived. Then I too can serve and bless others around me. And be an example to them.