Christmas. Gifts stack up in hues of red, green, blue, and gold. Lights sparkle on the trees that are decked with twirling snowmen, shining stars, and pristine ornaments. Fires crackle, chasing away the frosty air. Laughter fills the air as children kneel to discover their newest treasures. Wrapping paper flies through the air. Then eyes grow big and voices hush.
"But Momma," one voice is raised, "I wanted the other gift!" Wails break the tranquil Christmas morning as a child throws his gift back at the tree. It smashes into a million pieces. "The one we saw at the mall! Not this one! This isn't the toy I wanted!" Angry tears tumble down a round face as the child throws himself from the room. He leaves his single mother who runs a hand through her dark hair. A deep sigh escapes her lips. She picks up the broken pieces one by one. The shattered toy mirrors her breaking heart. She had saved up all her extra earnings for this gift. It was worth so much more than the other coveted gift. Couldn't her child see that she gave her all for him? Didn't he care? Tears fall, but they are tears of regret. Tears of sorrow. The perfect gift she had chosen had been rejected. She knew what was best for her child, and he had thrown it away. He treated her valued gift like a piece of coal.
Christmas. The cheer in the air had vanished. Only a gaping hole of selfishness remained.
Such a beautiful, special day. A day of joy, thanksgiving, excitement, and remembrance. A day to celebrate the greatest gift of all times.
But so often we forget the true meaning of the gift. When Jesus came to earth two thousand years ago, He wasn't desirable. He wasn't shiny, or glittery, or lovely. Isaiah 53 said, "There is no beauty that we should desire Him." He was plain. Regular. And not very exciting. Perhaps He was something like those brown paper packages that are the last ones to be opened. Almost reluctantly, you tear off its wrapping after the other ones are revealed. The stark plainness makes you almost forget that it's even there.
When I look back on the amazing love that came with the gift of the first Christmas, it saddens me to think that we simply rejected it. We rejected Him. God sent the absolute best gift imaginable - Himself in human form! What joy, what gladness should have been there to accept Christ onto the earth!
Instead, the exact opposite happened.
"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." -Isaiah 53:5-6
Jesus came as the perfect gift. The gift that would save us for all eternity. And we rejected Him! We turned our backs and said, "I wanted something else, God. I'm not satisfied with this gift." How utterly selfish! How miserably shortsighted!
When Jesus gave Himself on the cross, I wonder what God was feeling. Did His heart ache as we rejected His Son? Did He feel sorrow that we so foolishly overlooked our Savior? Did tears fall down His face when Jesus took the beatings, the curses, and the nails without a word of complaint? Jesus was not only the perfect gift. He was a shattered gift; broken to bring us salvation.
This holiday is so much more than we can ever know or imagine. It is deeper than our minds can even fathom. God came down in flesh to live among us and to save us from our sins. That is the best gift ever given.
Let us not merely "keep Christ in Christmas" or say "Jesus is the reason for the season." Let us live this out. Let us give Christ the gift of ourselves. Let us realize how amazing His love is and live out that love for others.
This Christmas, may we not focus on our own desires and plans. Oh, that we would give ourselves as gifts into His hand! If He has given us so much, why wouldn't we give Him everything in return?
How are you going to show your thankfulness to God this Christmas? How can we point to Him instead of ourselves? Comment Below!