Today as I ponder the thoughts of Christmas and all that it has come to mean to me, I realize how backwards my thinking has been. I mean I want something glorious for Christmas, something that will knock my socks off, don’t you? Maybe, just maybe you’ve already received that glorious gift. Or maybe you’re still waiting for it.
As a child I got up excited on Christmas morning for what I would GET. I did enjoy giving to others, but in reality it was all about ME. Even as I grew older and gave lots of gifts I would think about whether the person receiving the gift would like it or not because I wanted them to like me!
Through the years I wanted to maintain the traditions of my childhood, oyster stew and family gathered on Christmas Eve, the excitement of Christmas morning, the thrill of watching my children open their gifts, the wonderful foods that made up Christmas dinner.
This Christmas morning I sat thinking about the real purpose of Christmas. There were no presents yet under the tree. Mine still have to be wrapped. There is a ham in the crockpot, but no sugar plums dancing in my kitchen.
All the things I once thought of as “Christmas” didn’t exist this Christmas morning. Before you become sad for me, our Christmas is waiting until our daughter comes home tomorrow. We haven’t seen her in person for over a year since she lives in Japan now. She will be our Christmas gift.
There will be food and presents tomorrow. And our family will gather on Sunday. And I realize this is the reason Christ came. Not for us to give and receive expensive gifts on Christmas. Not to gorge ourselves with Christmas goodies. Jesus came for people.
On Christmas we celebrate Christ’s birth, the day God became one of us so that one day we will go back to live with Him in His House, His Glory land. His gift to us this Christmas was Himself.
He was wrapped in a bed of hay in a smelly barn. He was not born in a palace. He traded His palace for a barn because of love for me and you. He came to earth so we can one day come to heaven.
“think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
“Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.”1
There could be no greater gift that that. He gave His life for us. In the depths of me I feel I would gladly give my life so that my daughter or son might live. In a moment of choice, I would choose them. However, I am sorry to say, they are probably the only ones I would make that sacrifice for.
Jesus, though, Jesus did it for every person. He did it because of His love of humanity. Would you die for a specific race of people? Would you die for a nation of people? Would you die for anyone besides your family?
I am grateful for military men and women who give their lives for their country, for police and firemen who go into the battle for us. However, when push comes to shove I know they value their lives and really do not WANT to die for others. They want to live like I do. I probably would not knowingly die for a random stranger I don’t know a thing about. Are they worth me giving my life for?
God knows everything about every person. He knew our faults and our failures. And yet, He sent His only son to die for us. And Jesus willingly died for me.2 Not only that He became like me. He didn’t have to. He wasn’t forced. You understand this was His choice. He made it willingly knowing what He was getting into.
It’s His birthday and yet we get the gifts. I am pondering what I can give Him this Christmas that would be anywhere near the gift He gave me.
Although it pales in comparison to what He gave, I realize the only thing I can give is all of me. I give myself fully to Him. This Christmas I implore you to once again make that same commitment. Right now as you read this, give yourself anew to the Christ child who gave Himself for you.
Now, that’s a glorious gift exchange!
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.“3
1 Philippians 2:5-11 MSG
2 1 John 3:16
3 Isaiah 9:6 NLT
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