Dispensing Grace: Mimicking God at Christmas

What a verse to muse upon during the Christmas season!  Romans 8:32

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? – KJV

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? – NASB

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? – NIV

Why do we give gifts to one another at Christmas?  Shouldn’t our celebration of the birth of our Savior be limited to religious activities such as advent calendars and candlelight services on Christmas Eve?

No!

What can be more “religious” than mimicking God?  And what has God done?  What does God continue to do?  Bless us with gifts!

His greatest gift, of course, was delivering up His Son.  The context Romans 8:32 deals with our salvation.  It was necessary for God the Son to condescend and dress Himself in human flesh, live a perfect life in an imperfect world and be delivered up so that He would be the successful Savior of all who would believe in His name.  Praise God!  And we would praise God for all eternity had that been His only gift to us.  But that is not the reality we experience!

We have been given saving grace (Eph. 1:7; 2:8,9).  We have been given sanctifying grace (Rom. 5:2; 2 Cor. 9:8).  We have been given serving grace (Eph. 4:8, 28 [See also 1 Pet. 4:10]).  God continues to grace us with grace!  He continues to give us gifts that we might glorify Him and give to others.  And that makes our celebration of Christmas all the more meaningful.  Yes, it should be Christ-centered, but that does not mean it will look nothing like the celebrations of our unbelieving family and friends.  Many of them have a wonderful time as they gather together and give gifts to one another.  It is typically wholesome.  Grace is given.  Grace is received.  That’s the context in which I grew up.  My parents were not Christians.  But they loved all over us each year and made Christmas an event worth anticipating.  Should I make it less exciting?  No!  It is more so now that I know “the reason for the season”!

Those who know us well, know that we do not lavish our children with gifts at Christmas.  Each child receives a full stocking and a decent gift.  Some years they get two gifts.  But they are thankful.  We do the advent calendar in some form each year.  We attend a Christmas Eve service, if possible.  We don’t lose the significance.  Ask any of them and they will tell you that the reason we celebrate Christmas is because it is Jesus’ birthday.  But they also understand that we give gifts as a way to celebrate God’s grace in sending Jesus into the world.  Because God gave, we give.  It’s that simple.

So–are you going to be religious this Christmas?  Great!  Mimic God!

Let me know if you want to know what is on my list!  You still have time!

For further study on this topic, check out this sermon by Doug Wilson:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlmmrvEqVak

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