We have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Christmas, don’t we? We love it because of the joy it brings, good times with family and friends, and because it’s an opportunity to celebrate the birth of Jesus–not to mention the holidays! However, we also stress about how busy we can get and the presents that we need to buy.
I know for us, we always tend to have a budget for those presents (especially the kids), but then we see something we know our kids will love and we just HAVE to get it for them. Why? Because we love them, and we just want to see their faces light up and to share in their joy. When it comes to our kids the saying, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive” is definitely true!
Quite often the result of this is that we spend way too much money on presents. The budget goes out the window. But it’s all worthwhile for us. We see the joy on our kid’s faces and because of the love we have for them, we don’t mind spending way too much on them. Yes, we spoil them rotten!
Isn’t that the same as the whole reason we celebrate Christmas? We often use the phrase “the greatest gift” when talking about Jesus’ birth to illustrate how God sent his son to earth as a gift to us. I want you to just stop for a moment and picture God’s joy when we accept that gift, when he looks at us as we begin to see the wonder of the life he has given us both now and for eternity. No wonder Hebrews 12:2 says “…for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Yet, it wasn’t easy for him, was it? Not only did Jesus have to face the horror of the cross, but Isaiah 53:3 says, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” See, we have this massive debt of sin that cannot be paid by us. In the same way that my kids cannot possibly hope to pay for the gifts that I get them, we cannot possibly pay or in any way earn the gift that God gives to us through Jesus.
Perhaps if you receive an awesome gift this Christmas, you could think of the gift that God gave us – Jesus—even if your gift is some socks or underwear! If you happen to be talking to someone and they talk about the stresses of getting presents or how much things cost, talk to them about the debt that we have incurred and the gift of Christ to pay that debt. Remember that Christmas is one of the best opportunities to speak about Jesus, as most people are even more open than at other times in the year. Use this time to speak to your friends and family who don’t know the Lord yet about the gift he has given us!