Do you remember how you felt on Christmas morning when you were a child? All that anticipation leading up to Christmas; counting down the days, dreaming of what gifts you wanted to receive and then at last…
Christmas morning, the excitement is so palpable you can’t sleep. You try getting your parents up at the crack of dawn. Eventually, they give in, and you dash to the Christmas tree to find the neatly wrapped presents underneath.
What Christmas Is Really About
In this last post before Christmas, I want to talk about the first gift of Christmas and the only gift that matters.
Now if you are reading this, I know this isn’t your first Christmas. I also know you have heard that “Jesus Is The Reason For The Season” many times. But let me ask you, is that a reality for you or just a cliche?
What do you do with the gift of Jesus?
You Have To Unwrap The Gift
As I was writing this, I couldn’t help thinking about my favorite aunt. I loved her dearly. Because I loved her, I rejoiced in giving her gifts, regardless of the occasion, but especially at Christmas.
The unwrapping of the gifts was part of the fun. She would slowly and painstakingly unwrap her gift. Her goal was not to tear the paper.
Everyone in the family would go to great lengths to put extra tape or do anything else we could think of to make her tear the paper. But she never tore the paper, not once.
After she opened the gift, she would give genuine thanks for it and proceed to re-warp it and put it back under the tree. When she finished, you could not tell she had ever opened it it.
I assumed that after Christmas was over, she took the gifts out of the wrapping and used them as they were intended. That is why I wasn’t prepared for what we found after her death.
Upstairs as we cleaned out the house we found every gift she had received from the family still in the wrapping, neatly organized to be returned to the giver after her death.
Embrace The Gift
I can’t explain how I felt when all those gifts were handed back to me, but it broke my heart. I had given them with such joy and love and I wanted her to enjoy them but she couldn’t.
In her mind, she was not worthy to receive them because she was unable to give a gift in return.
Christmas, God giving the gift of God. Matchless, incomparable, Unfathomable. Emmanuel, God with us.
Can you imagine how God feels when He gives us the ultimate gift out of His great love, and we take it but then wrap it back up, put it back in the manger and leave it there? How it must break his heart.
Jesus Is Our Life
God, knows exactly what gift we need, and He freely gives it to us. But the manger is just the beginning. What do we do with the gift after Christmas? I love how John Eldridge expresses it in this article titled, “Jesus Is Our Life”:
“We need Jesus like we need oxygen. Like we need water. Like the branch needs the vine. Jesus is not merely a figure for devotions. He is the missing essence of your existence. Whether we know it our not we are desperate for Jesus.
To have his life, joy, love, and presence cannot be compared. To know him as he is, is to come home. A true knowledge of Jesus is our greatest need and our greatest happiness. The purpose of your being here on this planet, at this moment in time, comes down to three things:
- To love Jesus with all that is within you. This is the first and greatest command. Everything else flows from here.
- To share your daily life with him; to let him be himself with you. On the beach, at supper, along the road – just as the disciples did.
- To allow his life to fill yours, to heal and express itself through yours. There is no other way you can hope to life as he did and show him to others.
Love Jesus. Let him be himself with you. Allow his life to permeate yours. The fruit will be… breathtaking.”
My prayer for you is that the gift of Jesus will not be a Christmas ritual or a cliche’. But rather you will unwrap this priceless gift in all its fullness and embrace and receive Him. May He be your life with every breath you take. Don’t re-wrap the gift and put it back in the manger.
What will you do with the gift of Jesus?