Though Christmas will soon be here at least from a calendar perspective, the rest of the world has already been celebrating Christmas since October with decorations in every store window and every other ad on television displaying images of the season. There is no event on our American calendar so eagerly anticipated, so meticulously planned for, as Christmas. All of our media production companies, marketing firms, malls, food caterers, toy manufacturers, and travel industry have been thinking about and preparing for December 25 this year, since December 26 last year.
Unfortunately, many people feel sad and let down during the holidays. Christmas mysteriously raises our expectations, hopes and desires. This hunger and thirst for peace and contentment lie beneath the surface of our daily schedules all throughout the year. The anticipation of Christmas awakens the realization that we are created for a purpose, for something, or, more accurately, for someone. It is as if there has been placed in our heart a longing, a thirst and a hunger for something that we cannot quite put our finger on.
Obscene and irrelevant Christmas cards are flying off the shelves. The heroes of the Christmas season over time have become Tiny Tim, Rudolph, Frosty and a plump, red-faced, man named Santa. We give presents to family and friends, and they give gifts to us in exchange – it is truly a wonderful tradition. I rather enjoy gifts myself. There is something wonderful about holding a beautifully wrapped gift in your hands or seeing them piled up under the Christmas tree, or piled anywhere for that matter. It does not matter what is inside the box. Just knowing that someone took the time to show you love and appreciation is a gift in and of itself.
However, in the midst of all our Christmas festivities, we may forget that it’s the day chosen to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. How then are we giving him a present? This Christmas during your gift buying, gift wrapping, and gift exchange with family and friends set your mind also to exchange a gift with Jesus. Often, Jesus is all but left out during Christmas altogether. Imagine having a party planned in your honor and everyone is invited, but not you. Everyone brings gifts, and all the invitees’ exchange presents with one another — and you get nothing. Well doesn’t that sound a lot like Christmas? We give gifts to everyone but Jesus, yet He always comes bearing gifts for you.
No matter what you bring Him, He exchanges it with something so much better something money can never buy, something this world could never give, lend, or in no ways provide. You bring Him a bag full of your disappointments, He in exchange gives you hope that can only be found in Him (Psalm 62:5). You bring Him your fears; in exchange, He gives you His peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). You bring Him your sorrow; in exchange, He gives you unspeakable joy (1 Peter 1:8). You bring your weaknesses in exchange He gives you His strength (Isaiah 40:29). You bring Him your never ending striving and efforts in exchange He gives you direction to live out your God-given destiny and purpose in this life (Ephesians 2:10). Even if you bring nothing at all, He gives you life (John 10:10).
You say what gift could you possibly give to Jesus? It seems the true explanation of the complexity of our lives is an inner one, not an outer one. Often, the outer distractions in our lives reflect an inner lack of integration. Have you tried giving Him the gift of you, by following Him and Him alone going 100% against the grain of our wayward culture? Some gifts are so precious they can never be bought, are never made, they will only be found packaged and wrapped in a yielded heart (Romans 12:1-2).