Everyone knows the “what” of Christmas. Mary and Joseph, the Innkeeper, the manger and the birth of Jesus, plus a whole lot of other facts. But the “why” of Christmas isn’t as well known. Why did God send His “only Begotten Son” to Planet Earth as a baby? That’s the question this message answers for Christmas Eve.
Is there anyone here who doesn’t know the Christmas story? We know the woman, Mary, Joseph, the Innkeeper, the Manger, the birth, the Shepherds, the Wisemen, the Star, the little Drummer boy and everything that happened around His birth. I think we have the “what” down pretty pat. But the “why”; I’m not so sure we comprehend that.
One of our grandchildren recently hurt another grandchild. My wife and I were pretty shocked and concerned. So were this child’s parents. So we asked this child, why did you do that? Guess what the answer was? “I don’t know.” Was there a reason why? Yes, but it was ours to explore, discover and answer.
Every action has a why behind it. In many circumstances we may never get to it. So when something difficult happens and someone’s life is never the same afterward, we’re all tempted to demand an answer to the question, “Why?”. And setting that aside, leaving the question in God’s Hands may be the very best thing you can do. Just because you may not be able to comprehend the why, doesn’t mean that there isn’t one. There is.
So what is the “why” of the birth of the Lord Jesus? Can we know the answer to that why question? To some degree, yes.
1 John 4.7-12 says,
“7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 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. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.”
This part of Scripture tells us the answer to our question, even if it’s too big of an answer to fully grasp. Verse 9 explains, “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”
In the Heart of God, the origin of Christ’s birth was not in a decision, not in a plan, but in one of His most remarkable attributes, that is, love. In John 3.16 we hear the words of Jesus Himself saying that “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” For God so loved.
So let’s point to the love of God for a few minutes. The Love of God is one of His many attributes, but it’s understood in the light of the other attributes of God. Like the fact that God is Omnipresent, everywhere all at once. That means that the Love of God is available anywhere and everywhere. God is eternal. That means that God has no beginning and no end. Guess what that means regarding the Love of God.
But there’s another part of love that we need to understand.
Love generates action. It can’t help but do it. It must, if it’s love. The love of God took Himself and begot a Son. He was in the Godhead, the Word of God, but the Word of God took on flesh and dwelt among us. But did that just happen?
1 John 4.9 says,
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. “
So Jesus was born into this world, because the Love of God “sent” Him. That word in the original is the word Apostollos, to be sent on a mission. And the mission? That we might live through Him. Originating in the love of God, Jesus, the Word of God, was born into this world. Born to save those who would be born again by faith in the eventual sacrifice of the Savior at the completion of His mission.
So love has action. And an object. And we can see that the why of Christmas is much greater than the what of Christmas. The why of Christmas is the love of God.
Knowing that, what should our response be? If we’ve been touched by the love of God, then we genuinely love others with the same kind of love and the same kind of actions.
1 John 4.11-12 says,
“11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.”
How do you love others? You purposely visit them. You share the word of hope with them. You sacrifice for them. You give them what they need, not just what they want. You reach into their lives and love them by choice, not by how much they deserve it or how closely they are related to you or are like you, or how much they can pay you back, or by how good it makes you feel to do it.
There was one word that the Lord emphasized to us in this season. The name Immanuel, which means, God with Us. And one verse: “Seek the Lord and live” (Amos 5:6). And now the call to live in and live out the love of God, which is the “Why” of Christmas and beyond.