There is a lot of planning that goes into Christmas each year.
On my wife Jo’s side of the family it’s not only planned who will bring the ham, but even how many slices of ham are needed. One year her uncle came out from England and so they rented a holiday house for Christmas… imagine how much planning went on that year! When we arrived with a baby in tow our greeting was: “Oh, we didn’t know you were coming. I hope there’s enough food.” What was said and happened the rest of that Christmas Night probably should stay within the family!
But maybe your family is more like my side of the family. No one wants to tread on other family member’s toes and so nothing is planned until the last minute. Then it’s a last minute rush trying to please everyone that generally disappoints everyone and ends in tears. I wish we planned more.
Have you ever stopped to think about the planning that went on behind the scenes for the very first Christmas?
Right from the start you can see God was planning something big: “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:18)
Definitely not the normal way for things to happen! A virgin birth is so, let’s face it, unbelievable – so miraculous – that we expect big things for this baby…
An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:21–23)
God uses dreams, angels, and prophecy to announce his big plan. But what is the plan?
It’s all about us and Jesus. Jesus’ name means ‘God saves.’ Jesus is God’s plan to rescue sinners… including me and you. We don’t like to think of ourselves as sinners, but unless we recognise how desperately we need saving we will never fully appreciate how much God loves us and the great lengths he has gone to to rescue us.
You see, God’s plan wasn’t something he just thought up over night – like my family’s Christmas plans! The bit of prophecy you just read about the virgin being with child, was actually written 700 years before Jesus was born. In other parts of the Bible we’re told that before time began God was already planning how he was going to win you back to himself, his love for you is that great. It’s huge.
God put so much effort into the very first Christmas for you. He wants you to be part of his plan. Let me encourage you to remember God’s plan for Christmas; and consider how you fit into his plan… have you accepted God’s love for you by putting Jesus at the centre of all your life plans?