As many of you have noticed, I’m not a consistent blogger. I would love to be, but I’m not.
I write when I feel inspired to write. Sometimes it’s based on a thought of scripture that I have been meditating on. Sometimes when I’m reading the bible, something strikes me that I just have to share. Other times I feel a push to write about an experience of something I have done for seen. In the case of this blog, I have searched so hard for a creative angle in which to present the upcoming Christmas holiday.
The truth is – I have failed. I just don’t feel that I can adequately describe how special this holiday truly is. How priceless the baby in the manger is to the entire human race.
So with that in mind, I’m going to step out of the way and let the bible speak of the greatest of all Christmas gifts that we can share with one another and accept with all our hearts.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
On Christmas we focus so much on the famous manger scene. While the scene has so many teachable moments within it, it is the unsaid words of that moment that are so important to us. The greatest Christmas gift isn’t just the little baby in the manger – it’s what he represents to all who will receive him years later, after his victory on the cross.
While the wise men presented their gifts and gave glory to this all important child – while we today go to church and worship and exchange gifts with one another, they all pale in comparison of what happened on Christmas Eve thousands of years ago. God gave his only Son as a gift of salvation for all of us. Nobody in those days knew of the price that the baby in the manger would one day pay.
The verses above said: to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. What greater gift will we ever receive? What greater gift can we ever give, then to give others this great news as well?
While going to college I worked in a discount retail store and it blew my mind at the amount of traffic that the store received the days following Christmas. Everyone seemed to be in such a hurry to return their gifts so that they could receive the in-store credit and buy what their heart really wanted. It’s sad when you watch these people as they stand in line, holding gifts that were given to them with love from someone else. It’s one thing to return the wrong sized shirt or a defective product, but the majority of those people are looking to buy something else entirely because in their mind, the gift that they received is inferior to the heart’s desire.
How often do we overlook the gift that God has given each one of us? It didn’t come wrapped in paper with a pretty bow and tucked under a Christmas tree. It came through blood and tears. It came with pain and suffering. It came on Christmas Eve in the form of a baby who was given the name of Jesus.
If you are a follower of Christ, who will you share this present with this Christmas? If you are not a follower, will you stand in line to return this gift? Will you give away the present of life everlasting for one more shot at consuming the perishable gifts that this world hands out freely?
I love Christmas. I love the atmosphere that surrounds these days. I love being with family and friends. I love watching my kids open their gifts and the excitement that they get when they hand me gifts that they have made or picked out just for me – what can I say… I love presents too.
Can you imagine the joy that God gets every time he sees someone accept his gift? Can you imagine the greater joy he feels when he watches one of his children pass this gift on to others? It’s incredible if you take the time to sit back and reflect on those thoughts.
I challenge you to do that.