Growing up, Christmas morning was always filled with such extravagance. In the darkness of those early morning hours, my brother and I bounded down the stairs expectant for all Santa had brought. The lights on the tree bounced like dancers as bows and wrapping paper were flung every direction with the sweet aroma of Cinnamon Rolls baking in the oven.
Over the years, my most desired presents changed- whether a baby doll stroller, a CD player, skiing passes for the slopes near our house, a new comforter set for my bed, or a robot dog- I was blessed in the fact I could nearly always find them under the tree.
Still it seemed by the end of the month, week or even day, all the new toys/gifts weren’t enough as the hole in my heart remained. It wasn’t necessarily that I was ungrateful, but as the tree was taken down and Christmas movies put to sleep til the following year, life would return to being the same.
This puzzled me as a child, though as I have gotten older I have awakened to two realities that have changed my perspective about Christmas.
You see, the best gifts aren’t found in boxes or bags with bows and tissue paper. Rather, He came in a manger 2,000 years ago.
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2:1-7
Because of Jesus, we have:
- Forgiveness for all our sin
- Faith extending beyond what we can see
- Peace surpassing all understanding even when our world is crumbling
- Joy, even in our suffering
- Hope in His promises
- Family and a sense of belonging extending far beyond those related to us biologically
- Unconditional and unfailing love
The beautiful part of Jesus and these seven gifts is they are not contained to a day or mere decorations to bring out for a season.
Our celebration can and should be year-round, passed from generation to generation, for we have life eternally.
God the Father coming to Earth as a man, a mere baby, also shows us that the focus of our hearts should not be receiving, but in GIVING.
Dear ones, there is no greater present you can give your friends and family, your neighbor or grocery store worker this Christmas than the gift of knowing Jesus.
So rather than rushing to stores to finish your shopping or scrolling through Amazon, prayerfully consider how you will SHARE the gospel with others this Christmas.
Yet, before we share, the first question must be, do you know Him personally? If not, today can be your day. Jesus has your gift ready and waiting for you this very minute. You just have to open it.
I pray you all have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Much love always, Alisha