Up until Christ's birth in redemptive history, enjoying the privilege of being one of God's people had been limited to the Jewish nation of Israel. In fact, Israel had been exclusively known as God's people for thousands of years, ever since the time of Moses. But through Jesus, God opened the door for anyone to know the blessing of being one of God's own through salvation in His Son.
Read John 1:1-11. In these verses, John says that Jesus "came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him" (John 1:11). Throughout history, Israel had been waiting for the coming of the Messiah, anticipating and praying for His arrival. But when the time came for Jesus to set aside His glory and be born into this world, the very people who had been waiting for Him rejected Him.
To have a merry Christmas is to know the salvation that Christ has accomplished on your behalf.
God knew Jesus would be rejected by His own—but He had a bigger family in mind. In His mercy and grace, God purposed this rejection of His Son to welcome believing Gentiles into the family of God (see Romans 11:11-15). Although Israel's rejection of the Messiah was tragic, the joyous news could now be fully proclaimed through Christ: The way was open for anyone of any nation, language, ethnic group, or race to receive Jesus as the only Savior and become one of His people. Now anyone, anywhere, who repents of his sin and says, "Father, I cannot save myself. Jesus, save me," Jesus will save.
This time of year, many people say, "Merry Christmas," but they don't really know what they are saying. They are not yet one of God's people. The actual reason they say it is circumstantial—due to the bonus check they just received, time off with their family, or the superficial feeling that accompanies the season. But having a merry Christmas means much, much more than this.
To have a merry Christmas is to know the salvation that the Christ of Christmas has accomplished on your behalf. Have you accepted that priceless gift?
Prayer: Father, I praise You for the Good News of Christmas! I look forward to the day when I will be united with Your people from every tribe, nation, and tongue in Your presence, worshiping Your holy name. Thank You for my gift of salvation. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"For if [the Israelites'] rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?" (Romans 11:15).