Christmas is a week away and I still need to do some shopping. Shopping hasn’t been high on my To-Do List because I just cannot associate buying things with Christmas. Christmas isn’t about buying more stuff and spending money. God’s gift to us on Christmas morning was His Son. Jesus already paid the price for the only gift that counts – Salvation. At Christmas we celebrate Jesus’ birth but you cannot separate the birth from his life and crucifixion. Notice I didn’t say death, because death to so many people is a final event and nothing follows it. But death is not an end it is just a transition. Jesus did die on the cross but he rose again and he still lives, so will we if we believe in Him.
We hear a lot today about “Keeping Christ in Christmas” but the fact of the matter is that there is no Christmas without Christ. Without Christ it just becomes a day of marketing, sales, and debt accumulation. For many years I lived through the “Holidays” without Christmas. I called it Christmas but I was focused on gift giving and receiving. It was a time of buying the best gift for someone so they would appreciate me more or receiving a gift that reinforced how well someone thought of me – It was all about ME. Many Christmases I didn’t have room for Christ because I was full of myself.
Think back a couple of years, or perhaps just last year, what did you give or receive as Christmas gifts? If it isn’t sitting out right now where you can see it, can you remember what it was? I can’t. I know that this might seem unkind to last year’s gift giver and that is not my intention, in fact as I look around me I see some gifts that I was given in Christmases past that I still use and enjoy but I do not really associate them with Christmas.
There is really only one gift I think of that I associate with Christmas – the birth of Jesus.
I am not against giving gifts nor am I anti-Santa Claus. I think giving is important and I like to think that Santa Claus believes in Jesus too, after all how else would Santa come to have such a kind and loving heart than by emulating our Lord and Savior who taught us how to love, serve, and give to everyone – even our enemies. On my coffee table is a small statue of Santa bowing down in prayer at the manger cradle of the baby Jesus. So yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus and yes he is a Christian. Even Santa can worship God and be thankful for the greatest gift even given on Christmas morning.
I think the “Holiday Season” brings out some good in a lot of people that may not come to the surface during the rest of the year. But if we are really celebrating Christmas than that goodness will be pushed to the top and not limited to just a small portion of the year. We can live Christmas year round, that is what believing in Christ is all about. We do special things for others, we serve, and we give year round. We need to give the same gift that Jesus is offering us – Forgiveness.
Have you ever regifted something, you know that Fruit Cake you got from your cousin, you passed it on to an office coworker? Regifting is considered tacky and in bad taste (well in general I think fruit cakes are in bad taste anyway) but you are supposed to regift. Yes, I said you should regift, not just any gift but the most precious gifts you can receive– Forgiveness. Jesus forgives us each time we ask and he calls us to give this same forgiveness to others without any conditions. Can you let go of a grudge or perceived wrong and give the gift of forgiveness? It’s a lot harder than just going to Wal-Mart and buying them a new toaster isn’t it?
This Christmas I am regifting one present to everyone I know and I challenge you to do the same. Struggle through it, ask for Jesus’s help, and give Forgiveness. It is the greatest, most memorable, and life changing gift that you can receive or give.
So Merry Christmas and please regift my present to you because that is what Jesus wants us to do.