Matthew chapter 2 then tells of the visit of the star-following wise men bearing their gifts before Mary and Joseph depart for the safety of a sojourn in Egypt prior to eventually returning to Nazareth where Jesus will then grow to adulthood.
But there is another, less well-known Biblical account of Christ’s coming into this world. We find it in the opening chapter of the New Testament Gospel of John. It differs from the aforementioned accounts in that Luke and Matthew may be said to provide us with the physical details of Christ’s birth whereas John addresses the metaphysical aspects. His account is as follows…
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15(John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ”) 16Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
Focus again on verses 12 and 13:
12Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Later on, John further underscores the significance of these words in the opening verse of the third chapter of his First New Testament Letter when he writes: “Behold what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
The dictionary defines “lavish” as: “to give, heap, or bestow something freely and in great abundance to someone or something”. Indeed, there may well be no more wonderful statement to summarize what Christmas is all about than this!
In sending His one and only Son into this world, very God of the universe has “lavished” His love upon us! He did this because He has deemed to make us His very own children! And that is why the message of Christmas is and always will be one of “good tidings of great joy … to all people”!