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BEACON Senior News

Christ’s gifts to us

Nov 22, 2023 11:54AM ● By John Vieths

The child gives us COMFORT

2 Corinthians 1:3-7: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble... If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”

Christmas seems like a terrible time for tragedy to strike. We want to be caught up in the joy and the merriment of the season, not wringing our hands with worry over the health of someone dear to us. We want the ability to spend freely and the satisfaction of giving liberally, not the anxiety of fighting to make ends meet. We want to celebrate the good things in life, not grieve the death of those we love. We want undistracted bliss, not unavoidable suffering.

But Christmas also provides the perfect solution for life’s tragedies. It assures us God cares. It assures us he will take care of us. 

“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?”

God’s promise to forgive our sins leads to eternal life, and this gives us the comfort that all illness, every injury and even death itself are only momentary troubles. They will not and can never separate us from our Lord or from his love. 

God has been faithful to his promise to send the Savior. Christmas marks the keeping of that promise. Won’t he be faithful to his promise to take care of our every other need as well?

And so, even in the face of tragedy, the birth of God’s Son still gives us tidings of comfort and joy. God still gives us rest because, as the apostle Paul reminds us, through Christ our comfort overflows. No matter the tragedy we may be enduring at the moment, at Christmas we can still sing God’s praises, because this Child gives us comfort.

The child gives us life

1 John 5:9-13: “We accept man’s testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

The birth of Jesus Christ is a matter of life and death. I do not mean his own death, though one might wonder how long the infant could survive in the harsh conditions into which he was born. Infant mortality rates were certainly much higher in his day than ours, and he was born without doctor, nurse or midwife, or even the relatively sanitary conditions of a home.

I am not alluding to the hostility he faced from the beginning. No doubt the residents of Bethlehem lacked hospitality and basic human compassion when Mary and Joseph arrived so close to labor and no one offered them decent shelter. No doubt wicked King Herod’s plot to kill the infant should have succeeded under ordinary circumstances. Only divine intervention kept him alive.

The birth of Jesus Christ is a matter of life and death for us. The Apostle John promises that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Can we believe that this helpless little baby is our Savior? Will we believe that the infant in the manger is the solution for death, that he is our passport to heaven?

That is why God has revealed these things, not just so that this little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay, will enrich our earthly lives, but so that one day he might bless us all as his dear children, and take us to heaven to live with him there. For this child gives us life. 

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