Every Christmas the church rightly turns her attention to God being with us in the person of Jesus Christ. This staggering account is captured in the gospel narratives of Matthew and Luke. The events that unfold are cause for angels to break upon the scene in proclamation and worship, governments to react, and prophets to be born preparing the way for the coming King. The story in these gospel accounts captures our attention and is cause for rejoicing as we reflect upon what God has done to bring salvation.
I would also encourage you to turn your attention to other books of the New Testament that speak of this event and what it means. John marvels at this event when writing about God sending His Son in multiple verses in 1 John 4.
This is life
In verse 9, John writes, “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.”
The Father sending the Son is an offer of eternal life through Jesus Christ. To live eternally, Christ had to come; and because He came, those of faith can say that Christ dwells in them and causes them to genuinely live! (Romans 6:10-11)
Paul captures this in Ephesians when he says, “You were dead in your trespasses and sins,” (Ephesians 2:1) “but God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)
This is propitiation
In verse 10, John writes, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” [Side note…propitiation is defined as, “A sacrifice that bears God’s wrath to the end and in so doing changes God’s wrath toward us into favor.” Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem]
Another reason that God sent His Son is captured here by John, where he turns the attention of his reader to their need of payment for their sins and God having provided that payment. John reminds us that God sending His Son is God sending that which turns away His wrath. We should be in the crosshairs of His wrath because of our sin; instead, God has sent His Son, allowing those of faith to be beneficiaries of His favor.
This is salvation
In verse 14, John writes, “We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”
John echoes the angel’s proclamation to Joseph in Matthew 1:21, “for He will save His people from their sins.” This Child is the one sent by God to rescue men and women from judgment, because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) The giver of life, the propitiation, is salvation having come from God.
This is love
Finally, we find in 1 John 4:9-10 (quoted above) that God sending His Son is a divine act of love. The theme is also seen in the words of Jesus that John captures in John 3:16.
Love has sent Jesus from the exalted position, who took on the form of a slave, being made in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:7) By giving life, providing a sacrifice on our behalf, and being the sole means of salvation, God’s sending His Son is a divine response of love that we remember each Christmas season in particular, but also throughout the year.
This season make a commitment to read the Christmas story, but don’t stop there. Commit to continue reading all of the word of God and rejoice in all God has done through sending His Son.