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What is the appropriate response to the greatest gift ever given?
Today, millions of Christians will choose to celebrate the greatest gift ever given to mankind. A little over 2,000 years ago, the Son of God put on human flesh, being miraculously conceived in Mary. Approximately nine months later, the King of kings was born into humble conditions in the town of Bethlehem, just as prophesied in Micah 5:2.
Jesus was not simply born so we could enjoy a heart-warming account every year at this time. Among other reasons, He came to appease the wrath of God by dying for our sins on the Cross. Three days later, He rose again, demonstrating His power over death and giving the hope of eternal life to all who repent of their sins and place their faith in Him.
Christians often disagree about some of the particulars concerning Christ’s birth, such as the precise timing and location, but what is the appropriate response to the greatest gift ever given? Perhaps the best way to answer this question would be to look at how the angels and people responded on the night of His birth.
The angels said to the shepherds, “
Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10–12). The next verse tells us that the angels praised God saying, “
Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:13).
The shepherds decided to go to Bethlehem to see what had caused the angels to rejoice. Luke recorded their response (and Mary’s response as well).
And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.(Luke 2:16–20)
The angels rejoiced and praised God when Christ was born. The shepherds did the same. And while we may not know the precise day on which He was born, like the angels and shepherds, Christians can praise God for sending His Son into the world to save us from our sins. When we think about these truths, how can we do anything but rejoice?