‘I and my Father are one.’ Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. (John 10:30–31—NIV)

In our postmodern culture we are more apt to have thoughts regarding the nature and mission of Jesus Christ at Christmas than at any other time of the year. It is commonly understood that the reason for gift-giving and great-hearted charity is because God gave to man the gift of Jesus, His Son. But what exactly did God give?

Some teach that God’s gift is a call to forsake greed and emulate the selfless example of gift-giving. Others wistfully make a plea for mankind to honor the spirit of peace and harmony as the real message of Christmas. Often there is an emotional plea from both the sacred desk and the public lectern to simply remember the example of the humble circumstances that Joseph, Mary and Jesus endured and that we should be thankful for our blessings and be thoughtful of others less fortunate.

These are good applications and worthy reminders of higher values relevant to all mankind. But, if this is all that is believed and communicated, there is nothing of eternal, salvific, life-redemption in the message of Christmas. The signal meaning of the Gift of God has been downgraded and substituted for a lesser value.

The prophetic Name given for Jesus is "Emmanuel, God with us.” It is precisely this truth, Jesus is God, that gave rise to the situation found in John 10. Our Lord had finished His teaching that He is the Good Shepherd who gives His life in substitute for the lives of His sheep. He is the "door” for the sheep to enter salvation ("I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved"). This shows the critical relationship established between God and His sheep through the mediatorial role of His Son, Jesus. This relationship is actuated through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (verses 17–18).

Our Savior completed His teaching on this living, covenantal relationship with words which have brought comfort to the saints throughout the ages, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one (verses 29–30)".

At these words the unbelieving, yet religious, people around Him took supreme offense. They unmistakably heard the message of Christmas—God with us. The reason they took up stones to stone Jesus was they had heard from His own mouth words which would have been blasphemy from any other person. "I and My Father are one" is a strong allusion to Deuteronomy 6:4, "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one." Jesus was saying that He is Jehovah! It was unmistakable to their ears, it therefore has to be unmistakable to ours as well. "One" implies plurality like "one family." Jesus was stating His unity of essence with His Father, not just unity of will or power. He is God and declared Himself to be so!

Simply put, the significance of the Father’s gift is "God with us" in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is fully God, claimed to be so, and those who were best able to hear and recognize His claim knew exactly what He meant and claimed to be! Jesus is a fine example of self-sacrifice and of humility. He is the Prince of Peace and offers peace with God to all, who through faith in His finished work of substitutionary death for the payment of sin’s penalty upon the cross of Calvary, rest the care of their soul upon Him. Christ is God! This is the true meaning of the Christmas gift.

As you celebrate the season, remember the significance. The babe in the manger was the only human born with a mission to be the Mediator between God and man. He did not come to remain an exemplary babe in our dreams. He was born to die that we may live. He came to do a God-size task. His resurrection declares His triumph!

Have you allowed others to substitute a secondary meaning for the most important meaning of all? Is your worship filled with seminal truth, or is it filled with misdirected meditations? Are you born again and obediently following His commands? Trust and obey.