“But at the right time, God sent His Son. A woman gave birth to Him under the Law. This all happened so He could buy with His blood and make free all those who were held by the Law. Then we might become the sons of God. Because you are the sons of God, He has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts. The Spirit cries, ‘Father!’” (Galatians 4:4-6, New Life Version).
This Christmas season, I have a proposition for you. I want to suggest to you that we should celebrate the Lord’s Supper (or what we call “Communion”) the same way we celebrate Christmas, or vice versa. Do you think this is odd?
Look at these two significant events. On the one hand, Jesus himself demonstrated how he was to give His life as a ransom for many through the presentation of the cup and the bread at the Lord’s Supper.
In this act, Jesus demonstrated that He had come to shed His blood and thus to redeem us and set us right with God. In Luke’s Gospel (Luke 22:14-20) Christ called the revelation of this a special time, and something He had “fervently” desired to do with His disciples (Luke 22:15). Luke called it an appointed time (Luke 22:14). Christ said that He wanted to spend this special time with his disciples before He suffered. He would not eat again or drink again (Luke 22:16-17) until this event was fulfilled through the ushering in of the kingdom of God. This Lord’s Supper was a holy moment, a vibrant part of our redemptive history.
How different is that from Christmas? In the scripture noted above (Galatians 4), Paul wrote about how at another appointed time, God sent His Son, this lamb that was needed for the sacrifice, so that He (Jesus) could buy back with His blood the human race which had followed Adam’s lineage of sin and were now held captive. How remarkable! How merciful!
Remember Abraham’s testing of faith, when he and Isaac stood on the mountain, and Abraham summoned all of his courage and faith to prepare to sacrifice his precious child of promise on an altar. In Genesis 22, the scripture says that Isaac looked at the situation and asked about the sacrifice: “Then Isaac said to Abraham, ‘My father!’ Abraham answered, ‘Here I am, my son.’ Isaac said, ‘See, here is the fire and the wood. But where is the lamb for the burnt gift?’’ (Galatians 22:7). How did Abraham respond to Isaac as he cried out, “My father?” On Christmas, as we looked at our situation, we cried out to Our Father, and God has provided the lamb. How we praise Him!
It’s so interesting that we celebrate these two holidays completely differently. On the one hand, on Christmas, we crowd stores and go to great lengths to get the perfect gift, and the main focus is about gift-giving. And well it should be, for God has given the greatest gift of all, (2 Corinthians 9:15), the Good News of salvation through the shed blood of Christ. Here is how the angelic announcement declared to the shepherds is portrayed in the New Life Version of Luke chapter 2: “The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. See! I bring you good news of great joy which is for all people. Today, One Who saves from the punishment of sin has been born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord’” (Luke 2:10-11, NLV). Here again, the focus is on that precious sacrifice and redemption.
So perhaps we should get as excited about the Lord’s Supper as we do about Christmas. It seems as though for Communion it becomes a monthly ritual at church; and heaven forbid that we forget to do it. Yet how amazing in the redemptive plan of God are these two events, indicating God’s perfect timing, His incredible mercies, and His fervent love for us!
I really cherish the way these verses in Galatians noted here in the New Life Version magnify the response of the believer to this great act of mercy from God, who by sending His son into the world redeemed us from sin’s curse and eternal separation from God. It says in verse 6 that now, because we are the blood-bought adopted sons of God, the Spirit cries “Father!” Wow! Can you just sense that welling up inside of you as you read that passage?
Let us this Christmas cry out to God because of the great gift He has given to us, this lamb for the sacrifice. As the angels proclaimed this good news let us cry out in the Spirit just as Issac on the mountain shouted. This Christmas let us cry out to “Father!”