There’s something everyone can agree upon: Christmas is about giving. In particular, Christians recognize that on a certain morning in Bethlehem, God gave us The Gift. On December 25, we give to others and remember His Gift. God’s Gift wasn’t a “what” but a “who”. God’s perfect Gift, Jesus, came wrapped in the secrecy of a secluded stable and we hide our gifts under red and green paper and pretty bows. Most Christmas presents I’ve received have long been forgotten but I’ll never forget Jesus. Why? Because I talked to Him this morning. For anyone who has never experienced a relationship with God, this statement must sound like complete foolishness. But to those who have received the Christmas gift of a relationship with Jesus, it is completely normal.
With Jesus in your life, not only do you actually hear from God (and hear from Jesus with full confidence that it really is Him) but you also find purpose in life. I don’t mean the purpose and rewards of a fulfilling career. What I mean is the purpose of a life with meaning. Without Jesus, life is a half-life fogged over with noise and counterfeit ideals. With Jesus, counterfeit yields to confidence.
As the bogus quagmire of the world gives way to the solid rock of the Kingdom, life becomes far more exciting. We find that we’ve become sons and daughters of God and that He really does walk with us and talk with us. Life’s struggles cease to overwhelm us and instead the Holy Spirit guides us through every situation. We begin to take on the image of God. We’re family and His presence can’t help but rub off on us. We find we look more and more like Him as each day passes. He breaks us free of our selfishness and self-centered ambitions and helps us live life directed outwards towards other people. Let’s call it a life of love. And this love isn’t the love of the world (that love makes being loved the important part). You know exactly what I’m talking about here. The world defines love based upon how the receiver feels. Your worldly love is judged upon whether the person loved feels loved, feels supported, feels approved. The love we show through Jesus draws people towards God and out of the world. We are called to be Holy and our love calls others to join us. Think of it this way: when our love is Jesus centered and God focused, His love flows out through us.
God’s love truly is a gift that keeps on giving. As you prepare for Christmas, I encourage you to remember the Gift who was born in Bethlehem and is our Lord and Savior. Let’s all pray that we are able to walk close by His side and spend time in His presence throughout this busy season.