I’m a horrible gift giver; at least I think so.
In fact, last year, because I really don’t like the pressure of gift-giving, I bought many people on my list the same gift. Yep; the same thing for each of them. It was a good gift; something I would like to receive. But it wasn’t the gift that said: See I know you so well! Look I have been thinking of you all year long! I pay attention; I am an observer. I knew you would love this.
I want to give those gifts, but all the buying wears me out. The cards. The decorations. The lengthy list of people I don’t want to forget. Not to mention all. the. food. And I find myself wiped out by all the buying.
Maybe Buying Really is What Christmas is All About
I’ve been doing some digging into God’s word about what Christmas is really all about. In Galatians 4:4 Paul tells us: “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.” (NLT)
When the right time came.
God knew when the time was right.
“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman…” Christmas; the baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, laying in a manger.
Maybe like me, you have a picture of Jesus hanging in your home. Honestly, I know Jesus couldn’t have looked anything like the white man hanging in my hall. Jesus was born in the middle east, born into a time of great sorrow and suffering under Roman rule.
In another version, Galatians 4:4 says: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent Jesus.” After the completion of a particular period of time previously ordained and appointed by God, He sent Jesus.
The time came and Jesus came. This passage goes on to say: “God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” Galatians 4:5 (NLT)
Jesus Came to Buy Freedom
Why did He come? God sent Jesus to buy freedom. God sent Jesus to set the Jewish people free, but not free from their circumstances. The Jewish people were captives to the Roman Empire for 63 years before Jesus came. They continued to be captives to Rome for 400 years after Christ had come.
So where was the freedom?
The freedom Jesus came to buy wasn’t freedom from their circumstances. He didn’t come to change their outside situation. He came to bring freedom from their sin and freedom from the heartache brought on by sin; the sin of our own and the sin of others against us. Jesus came so forgiveness could set them free.
Would they accept this forgiveness, this healing, this new direction … even when nothing on the outside changed? Would they receive the freedom He bought for them even when the situation around them stayed the same?
The freedom Jesus purchased didn’t alleviate the pain of their circumstances. This gift of forgiveness and freedom, when it was received and accepted, still didn’t change their situation. What this gift gave was the power to live beyond their circumstances and the freedom to live in their situation.
He came so that we could live in joy and peace no matter what is going on around us.
For many of us, this year has not been filled with joy, but instead disappointment after disappointment. For the Jewish people, they didn’t get what they wanted either. They weren’t looking for peace and joy per sue. They were looking for something different; something Jesus wasn’t. They were looking for a king to relieve them from their troubles. In John 6:15 it says, “Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.”
He Came to Do More Than Change Their Situation
Jesus was a savior who came for more than changing their situation. He came to set them free from their sin and the effects of sin on each of us. He came to set them free from their depression, discouragement, their dread of waking up each morning.
He came to set them free and He came to set you and I completely free.
Maybe like me, you get worn out with all the buying associated with Christmas. The gifts, the food, the gas for the travel and the outfits for the occasions. There is a lot of buying going on.
What I have come to discover is buying is what Christmas is all about.
Jesus purchasing freedom for the Church and purchasing our personal freedom from our personal prisons. As Galatians 4:5 said: “God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” Galatians 4:5 (NLT) God sent Jesus to purchase our freedom, peace, a newness, and healing we can receive as a gift He bought.
This gift, this freedom we can receive, even if nothing in our surrounding situation changes.
This peace and joy that comes through freedom can be ours even if not one thing in our life is different.
I think this freedom can be as hard for us to wrap our minds around as it was for the Jewish people. They wanted the gift of freedom from their circumstances; a king to set them free from the slavery of the Romans.
We also want the gift of freedom from our circumstances; we want the gift-giver to take away our pains and make our lives happy. But just like He did for the Jews, by His coming at Christmas, and His dying one day on Calvary, Jesus offers us much more, so much more, than getting what we’ve always wanted.
He offers us more than the answers to our prayers; more than relief from our pain. He came to give us freedom in our hearts from our anxiety, our hurts, the unforgiveness festering in our lives.
This is why Jesus came. This is why Christmas is all about buying. Jesus came at Christmas not to give us a holiday to celebrate. He came to buy us freedom; He came to give us freedom from our personal, inner slaveries. The burdens and pains that no one else sees; the shame, the masks, the hurts. He came to set us free from trying to be who He never made us to be! He came to set us free to be who He made us to be; our true selves with our own unique callings and assignments.
This is Christmas
This Father, He watched. He paid attention. He researched … you. And then, knowing the gift that would bring tears to your eyes, the gift where you are going to say “How did you know?” The perfect gift; He opened His arms wide to embrace You and give you this gift of love, this gift of making you His own, knowing He is offering you the gift that is perfect at the perfect time.
He gives you more than the immediate answer to your prayers.
See, if all He gave you this Christmas was the answer to that prayer you are desperate for, as soon as it was answered, there would be another prayer in the wings. It’s just part of our humanity. And while our good Father does hear our prayers and does give us the desires of our heart, through the gift He gave us at Christmas, He gives us so much more than that.
He gives you so much more because He gives you Himself.
“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves … so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” Galatians 4:4 – 7 (NLT)
One Size Fits All
The gift of freedom Jesus gives to us is the one gift that does fit all. It is the gift of forgiveness which leads to freedom. It is the gift that makes us completely outgiven. Only Jesus can give the gift of freedom. Only He can set me free so that I am unfettered, unburdened, and unimpeded.
This is Christmas.
Yes, Christmas is all about buying; Jesus buying for us freedom. At just the right time.
We are the healed, the moving, the blessed, the comforted, encouraged and fulfilled!
Father’s arms are open wide, ready to take us in as His own. Yes, through adoption, but also to make us His own each day through the progressive healing of our hearts, the restoring of our minds, our dreams and hopes. Yes, He came to buy us complete and restorative freedom.
This is Christmas.