Christmas – the lights, the music, the spirit of giving, the food, the presents, the tree, the holiday sales, the….What has happened to the season! Where did the meaning go? Is it about the gift lists, the wrapping paper, the tags, the lights and ornaments? Is all this rush and scurry what Christmas is about, or is there possibly something more?
As we draw nearer to the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I cannot help but to take time in the quiet of the nights and the early morning hours to consider the greatest gift given to us all. The grace of our God which was shown to us through the life of a little baby boy, born to a virgin named Mary and who was named “Jesus” but who became to us “Christ” (our savior). Through his life, we are shown what it means to be forgiven when we did nothing to deserve it. We are shown what it means to have our failures forgotten, when we are standing there with a list of stories about our what we have done wrong that is long and burning in our mind.
The only catch to the gift – we have to choose to accept it. We have to choose to believe it. We have to choose to receive it, rejoice about it and tell others about it. Where are you? Have you been offered the gift of forgiveness but are refusing to accept it? Are you receiving it but then walking away and returning to your old ways (i.e. forgetting the reason you were forgiven in the first place and just taking advantage of the giver of it)? Are you standing there having been forgiven but refusing to tell anyone else about it because you are not “good enough” to be “a preacher”? If you identify with any of these questions, I encourage you to re-think the true meaning of this season.
Forgiveness is extended to all of us for all of our mistakes and failures. The only question is whether we will confess our sins, accept the gift of forgiveness and then take the actions necessary to walk forward in life differently such that we become a living testimony for God. As for me and my house, we choose to celebrate the greatest gift ever given to us, and we hope to show the love of God by extending that gift to others who are willing to accept it. For those unwilling to receive it, we pray their hearts will change, their eyes will open and their ears will hear.
With this understanding of the reason for this season, we wish all we know who have made the choice we have, a very Merry Christmas.