It’s Christmas! Time for gifts! If you’re lucky, you’ll receive a pile of presents and nestled among them will be the perfect one! The item you’ve longed for, the one that will light up your existence, lift your burdens and make you sparkle!
That’s a tall order, but it’s a wish most of us carry from childhood when we really, really believed in Santa. The bright, tinsel-wrapped packages held so much promise and our unjaded little hearts were delighted by the toys and bicycles we found under the tree. We’re still hoping against hope to feel that joy again even if what we find gives us the equivalent letdown of an 8-year-old unwrapping underwear on Christmas morning.
We ourselves know the thought, time, and money we spend trying to please our loved ones, trying to give that joyful thrill. The perfect gift shows that someone knows us deeply and connects with who we are and has offered the very item that celebrates our singularity. When that connection is missing, especially from our nearest and dearest, it’s the biggest disappointment of all. One year my dad gave my mom a check for $300 for Christmas. Back in the 60’s that was a lot of money. He must have imagined her pleasure at picking out just the thing her heart desired, but as far as I know, she never cashed it. To her, it showed not only his lack of thought and planning, but also his lack of love and care—he couldn’t even be bothered to go to the bank for the greenbacks. Though his intention was loving, it was lost on her. They were both disappointed.
The truth is many of us are like my mother. Every Christmas we receive a blank check from the God of the Universe. We can spend it however we choose. But we leave it, unspent in a drawer, ignoring the delights it was intended to bring us.
This holiday began as a celebration of the day God came into the world to live with us. It was the dawning of the Redemption Story. Jesus was born, lived His life to show us the Father, and then died in our place so that we could live forever with Him. The Father sent His Holy Spirit as a deposit for the time when Jesus would come back for us. The Spirit is our helper, our comforter, and our teacher in this earth. In the meantime, Jesus gave us His name and the promise that the He will do anything we ask in that name.
There is so much we could do with this precious gift! It should excite us beyond any doll or bike or toy we ever received! If the thought, expense, and love that goes into a present is the measure of its value, this is surely the best ever. It cost Jesus everything. We could use it to turn the whole world into a Christmas Wonderland 365 days a year.
This year, let’s be those unjaded children once again, delighted at what we receive this holiday, eager to take it out to see what it can do! Jesus is God’s glorious gift to us! It is the one we’ve longed for, the one that will light up our existence, lift our burdens and make us sparkle! Take Him out of the box and show Him off to the neighborhood!