I bet you know what this is. This is a Christmas present. It’s the universal sign that the holiday season is upon us. In most houses the present is wrapped and put under the Christmas tree.
Some families open their presents on Christmas Eve. In our house, we wait until Christmas morning to tear through all that pretty wrapping paper to see if we got that new PlayStation or a fresh supply of socks.
In all the excitement of tearing and ripping open the gifts, I tend to forget the reason why these gifts are given in the first place.
It’s because of this...This is the family nativity set that we keep out all year long. Whenever I see it on our piano, it’s hard to for me to ignore the fact that this angelic child will one day be a man, who will die on a Roman cross. Christmas is about life, death and resurrection. They are one in the same gift that we receive from God.
I can’t imagine what mixed emotions God must have had at that Nativity. As a father, I wonder what God was feeling seeing this newborn just lying there all helpless, weak, and vulnerable? Did God cry, like I did when I first held my daughter Fiona?
I remember standing in the hospital room, balling my eyes out. It was the first time in my life I really felt and truly understood unconditional love. Life all of a sudden felt very real. And yet, in my greatest joy, the fear that something bad could happen to this precious innocent life loomed all around us. I held onto her and never wanted to let her go. I imagine that is what God’s love for us is like. He never wants to let us go.
When sin and death pulled us away from God, a little baby was sent to us, bringing peace and justice to a world filled with war and violence. In the darkness of death burst the bright light of hope and peace and joy. The Christ child came to reconcile us back to God, who like a loving parent weeps with great joy when he welcomes us in his arms! There is no safer place to be. God is the perfect definition of unconditional love. His gift of the Christ child is proof.
Amazing as this present is, it is still only half the gift. If God cried, then those tears weren’t shed because of what happened that night in the stable. God cried because God knew what that birth would eventually bring.
Christmas is just half of the gift. The other half would come at Easter. Christmas makes Easter possible. Just like the first Christmas gift was placed in an empty manger, our Easter present was placed in a grave. But when we open this gift, we don’t find a PlayStation or a fresh supply of socks. Instead we only find an empty tomb. This is the fulfillment of the real gift.
Christmas and Easter, might be two separate holidays, but they are one gift. We can’t receive one and not the other. It’s Christmas that makes Easter inevitable. And Easter is what makes Christmas meaningful. A reason to celebrate!
I hope that you will ponder these words and take them to heart. Christ is coming into our world. In us. With us. And through us, God is breaking through the heavens and the angels are singing. O come, let us adore him. Amen.
From our home to yours, we hope that you have a very, Merry Christmas.
has been blogging under the name: Jesus not Jesús: Looking for Christ in the face of strangers. You can read his posts and browse his archives by clicking here.
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