Another Christmas is in the books. What did the day really mean to you?
Christmas signifies different things to different people – giving gifts, family, goodwill to others, celebrations, and the birth of Jesus. For many people it is a combination of multiple meanings. What was your primary focus for the day? Who or what did you choose to celebrate?
Jesus is definitely the primary reason for my Christmas season. But with everything going on – preparing gifts, cooking, visiting family, I periodically lost sight of that.
We started the day with our usual tradition, reading Luke 2:1-14. We each shared what Christmas meant to us. Like most Christians, we celebrated Jesus’ birth.
Why is that a cause for celebration? What did His birth really mean for you and me?
When you really think about it, Jesus was born for one primary reason – to die.
That makes me pause and ponder. We focus on celebrating His birth, but the fundamental purpose of His miraculous entrance into this world was for Him to eventually give up His life for us.
We celebrate because His birth was the ultimate gift.
That gift kicked off the most extreme rescue plan ever. This was a divine strategy to save us from the fate that sin brings. A life forever separated from God, the one who created us.
But the gift of His life – a life devoid of sin – was sacrificed in exchange for our sin-soaked lives. When we accept this gift, we receive the promise to live forever with God.
Jesus walked this earth knowing what was to come. But before He made the ultimate sacrifice, He did so many amazing things to literally change the future course for countless people.
He calmed raging storms and forceful sea.
He walked on water.
He cast out demons.
He brought the dead back to life.
And mostly importantly, He loved. Unconditionally.
Jesus lived a life full of purpose, despite being born after traveling to a town full of people too busy and self-consumed to provide assistance for His family, and ensure a comfortable and safe birth.
I remember when I went into labor with my firstborn, Kennedi. My water broke while I was walking on the local school’s track, but I wasn’t in active labor, nor was I experiencing contractions. I took my time, grabbed a bite to eat, and waited for Kenny to come home from class so we could head to the hospital
As I waited in the check-in line at the ER, there was another expectant mother behind me. She was obviously in active labor and doubled over in pain, moaning loudly due to the distress she was experiencing.
The receptionist informed me how busy they were, and that I would be assigned to the final available birthing room.
I was happy to hear the good news, but then I thought about that expectant mother behind me. What were they going to do about her?
I quickly let that thought flow out of my mind and focused on both the fear and excitement of soon meeting our new baby. I went to my state-of-the-art birthing room and waited for hours to be induced due to the busyness of the maternity ward that evening.
Could I have given up my room so that she could have had the comfort of a birthing room for her baby’s arrival, given her impending need?
That thought would have never crossed my mind back then, because I was so focused on myself, my baby, and my comfort. It is not natural for most people to consider others over themselves.
Every Christmas we hear the story of Jesus, how there was no room in the inn, no place for them to stay, no comfortable place for Mary to deliver her baby.
Everyone was busily going on about their day, no one even bothered to help provide assistance for Mary while she was in labor, even though I’m sure it was visible to everyone she passed.
I haven’t really thought about it since then, but I wonder what happened to that expectant mother, and to her child who probably shares the same birthdate as Kennedi.
I wonder what her birth story was. Where and how did she deliver her baby? Did she give birth in an ER room? Did a room ever open up for her?
I also wonder how her teenage child is progressing today.
I pray that he/she is thriving, and they know Jesus and celebrated the amazing gift of His birth this Christmas. And I pray that they grow up to make a remarkable difference in this world.
As we finish up this last week of the year and close out the 2nd decade of the 21st century, let’s strive to not be so busy and consumed with our own lives, that we don’t notice when others need help. And if we have the means to make a difference, let’s have the courage and selflessness to do so.
If there is one thing I could challenge you to do as we go into 2020, let’s make this the decade of intentional servanthood. To live a life of service, just like Jesus did all those years ago. He truly is a gift in more ways than we can ever imagine.
Let’s strive to serve God and serve others. We each have something of value. We’ve all been blessed with talents, abilities, and/or resources – yes each and every one of us, no matter what our current financial or socio-economic status. Let’s not just use them to benefit ourselves, but let’s follow the gift of Jesus’ life and make an impact and difference on someone else we encounter.
Jesus is our greatest gift, a priceless gift that inspires us to keep giving.
Jesus is God’s special gift to us. Just think of Him as the greatest Christmas present ever. Another name for Jesus is Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23) which means God is with us. God’s gift was to give himself to us in human form so that He would always be with us. Jesus is with us, do you talk to him throughout your day, especially when things are not going so well? Or is this gift sitting untouched?
Jesus is also called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) which for many could be such a precious gift, if only they knew how to use it. Think for one moment – whatever it is you woke up this morning worried about – imagine not having to worry about it anymore. Instead replace it with the peace that Jesus brings when He’s in our lives. Are you worrying about anything right now? Won’t you take advantage of this invaluable gift of peace for your life?
Feel free to share your response in the comments section…