“…And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which will be for all people. For there is born in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign unto you: You shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes laying in the manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'”
There is something special about giving and receiving gifts. One of the things our family has done for the last several years is a family gift exchange. We place our names in a Christmas hat and go around the room. Everyone draws a name and provided no one gets their own name you then buy a gift for the person whose name you drew.
I love watching others open their gifts and see the joy and excitement that crosses their faces…(I also enjoy wrapping things in really large boxes or bags and watching them trying to figure out what is in that gigantic gift box for a week and a half…;)
But none of that compares to the greatest gift God ever gave us–His Son Jesus!
Immanuel. God with us. Jesus left Heaven and His Father’s side to come down to this messy earth. He was born of a virgin. He was both Man and God. Jesus shifted the entire way that we think about life. He showed us what’s really important. He taught us that It’s not just about what it looks like to others. It’s about what’s inside, what our thoughts and motives truly are.
He knew that we would never attain the level of perfection that we needed to be in His Presence. He loved us so much that He endured the cross–that horrible painful death for us. Just because He loves us and wants to be with us and to know us.
But His painful death wasn’t the end. It was just the beginning. Jesus rose again three days later just like He promised He would. He ascended into Heaven to be back at His rightful place at the right hand of God interceding for us–His beloved children.
Although He doesn’t walk the earth in bodily form like He did all those years ago, Immanuel hasn’t left us alone. He gave us His Spirit and a manual on how to get though life. But it’s not a manual on how to just survive life. It’s a book telling us about the greatest story ever told to man. A story about a big God deeply loving and working to redeem His broken creation. This book–The Bible, offers us hope and encouragement when we are at our weakest. It tells of men and women–some great some your average Joe but with the help of a big God were able to do great things.
Recognizing the Greatest Gift that we have even been given enables us to see all of the small, hard to see gifts that are abounding in our everyday lives. May each of us this Christmas season be reminded to look to the ultimate Gift Giver, Jesus Christ.
Until next time,