Have you taken the time this year to make sure that everyone knows what size you are...the colors you like...and the styles you prefer to make sure that everything you receive this Christmas in the form of a gift is just perfect...no returning needed. So this year...just to make sure...the Christmas list was short and sweet and almost impossible to mess up. Your list looked something like this:
- A gift card to your favorite clothing store
- A gift card to your favorite music store
- A gift card to your favorite computer and software store
- A gift card to your favorite sporting goods store
- A ten pound box of money
You’ve taken measures to make sure everyone can catch your “drift”. But what happens? You begin to watch the gift giving unfold and all of your hopes and dreams for Christmas have turned into a really bad nightmare.
- Your parents gave you a complete bowling outfit...you don’t bowl!
- Your mom gave you another pair of zebra striped flannel pajamas...that’s your seventh pair in seven years ...the same size as the first year...too small!
- Your kids gave you a year’s enrollment to Exceptional Parent University.
- Your grandma bought you a set of instruction videos...plus a cello...but you’re tone deaf.
- Your kids bought you a trial run at Delmar Gardens...you're only 41 years old.
Ever happened like that, I mean, not as bad as that but the same result you didn’t get anything you really wanted for Christmas. Unrealized expectations can be a real downer sometimes...as the old trusty car begins to warm up in anticipation of beginning the ole familiar yearly rite of “return the gift”...which starts in the “forever” waiting line...at every location.
Thankfully, there is a gift that really matters...that we will never want to return. It’s given to us by God and promises to provide everything we need for the coming year.
“Your heavenly Father...will give you all you need... from day to day if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” Matthew 6:25-33
It might be a little difficult to admit that you can survive without a pair of zebra striped flannel pajamas, but somehow... everything is gonna to be alright. When we set our mind on the things that really matter...our gift expectations begin to change...and our disappointments decrease as we focus on our task of living for Him and being aware that He knows our real needs...spiritual, relational, emotional, and even material...even those we aren’t really aware of.
When Christ was born into this world, according to the Fathers plan, He brought to us the greatest gift of all....a Savior, Christ the Lord. When Christ gave His life on the cross, paying for our sins, was buried, and then raised from the dead the greatest gift of all provided redemption and offered salvation. Have you received the greatest gift...you won’t want to return it.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (ESV)
It is a gift we don’t deserve...but a gift we really need...the gift of eternal life. That’s why the Bible describes Christmas as “Good News”.
What a gift! A gift that we can really be thankful for...and a gift that actually “keeps on giving”... day after day. I mean, after we receive this gift, a good change occurs and we become more concerned about what we will give rather than what we will get.
“ In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35 (ESV)
We not only don’t want to return this gift we want to share it with others. That’s what Christmas is all about: God reconciling with his human creation so that we can know Him and love Him and share Him with others.
Go ahead and text someone right now...give them an invitation...slap it on Facebook...I know you use it...I’ve already seen those “cute” pictures of your dog jumping off the roof of your house into a kiddie pool...Invite them to Sunday Christmas worship...starts at 10:30...tell them it will help make Christmas Day really special...Invite them to Christmas Eve Service. Hey, just a thought; Invite them to Christ...it’s a gift where no returning will be needed.
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11 (ESV)