Father in Heaven,
We thank you for Christmas, and we thank you for gifts, good food, and family fun. But while these things are nice things, they cannot do any ultimate good to us because they cannot take away our sins. What is ultimate is that your Word, the eternal Christ, took on flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. He was found in human form in a manger, such a lowly birthplace for a King. Yet he did not remain a baby. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. And though he died, he did not stay dead. Father, you highly exalted him by raising him from the dead, giving him the name that is above every other name. So we thank you for the gift of a suffering servant who took our iniquity so that we might be clean.
Father, at Christmas we hear many stories about kindness, peace, and being “good for goodness’ sake.” But if we are honest, our goodness is nothing to showcase, nor has it ever been. We praise you that you do not look upon us and give us favor because of our goodness. You could never do this because before we knew you, we were slaves to sin: we were held captive by the law, which we could not keep. Thank you Father that when the fullness of time had come, you sent your Son to be born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law. You redeemed us through your Son and made us sons and daughters. He redeemed us by fulfilling the law in our place and giving us a righteousness we could never earn. So we thank you for the gift of a righteous man whose record is credited to our account.
O Father, would your Holy Spirit impress these gospel truths on our minds and hearts today, and everyday. As we open up gifts, let us remember that Jesus is the greatest gift that has ever been given. As we eat food, let us remember that the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. As we spend time with family, let us remember that we now belong to a new family which is bound together more tightly than our earthly families ever could be.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.