I love Christmas. The celebration of the birth of Christ and the beauty and wonder of the season make it “the most wonderful time of the year” for me. In recent years, however, the season has been accompanied by a growing irritation. Every year “Christmas stuff” comes out earlier and earlier—creeping all the way back to early fall.
Christmas used to be limited to December, but now we find radio stations playing Christmas music in early November. Stores start advertising Christmas specials in October, and Christmas candy appears in late September. If we’re not careful, this growing deluge can numb us—even sour us to what should be a season of gratitude and awe.
When that irritation begins to rise in my spirit, I try to do one thing: Remember. I remind myself what Christmas means, who Jesus is, and why He came. I remember the love and grace of a forgiving God who sent us rescue in the Person of His Son. I remember that, ultimately, only one gift really matters—God’s “indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15). I remember that the salvation Christ came to provide is both the gift and the Giver all wrapped up in one.
In today’s passage, Paul explains that our salvation is the work of our triune God. First, “God sent forth His Son” (v.4). Second, Jesus came to accomplish our redemption—setting us free from the bondage of the law—and to secure our adoption, making us sons of God and enabling us to enjoy the full privileges as God’s children (v.5). Third, God gave us the Holy Spirit—“the Spirit of His Son,” who endears and enables us to cry out “Abba, Father!” (v.6). The work all three persons of the Holy Trinity did to secure our salvation is also explained by Paul in Ephesians 1:3-14 and by Peter in 1 Peter 1:2. Jesus spoke of this as well (John 14:16-18,23-26; 15:26).