In a few days there will be the wonderful occasion of exchanging gifts around the world. To any and all Christmas hardliners, I add a note that I am aware that the modern celebrations of Christmas have little to nothing to do with the coming of the Savior – please don’t grumble in your hearts at the thought that some of us delight in giving gifts and celebrating within the definitions of our given cultures. Christmas trees, ornaments, wreaths, colored lights, large meals, stockings and, of course, Santa are completely independent of the purely biblical account of the incarnation – I get it. Having said that, I would like to say that I’m entirely at rest with the awareness that Christmas is still recognized around the world and therein is an opportunity to remember Christ in a world that has otherwise disregarded Him. Let’s max it out while it’s still allowed, amen? This is the one time of year where I give myself permission to be immersed in tradition and I am truly blessed in doing so. Though Santa is not believed in at the Lyle house (Landon recently shared the hard truth concerning Kris Kringle with our 9 year old neighbor much to the dismay of her parents), the exchanging of gifts is something I delight in.
When He saved me, God wired me to be a giver and my love language is best expressed in the act of giving. I love the idea of picking something out, buying it, wrapping it, and letting it marinade in the alternating colored-lights of the Christmas tree before one of my three open it on Christmas morning. The video camera is always in my hand at Christmas because I love to see faces when they receive something they didn’t expect. Of course, children are the best because they often add little dances, unbridled shouts and unsuppressed zeal when they tear the wrapping off of the next gift. I’m looking forward to a few days of this with my own family this week. Christmas is a wonderful occasion and it is all because of the act of giving.
God is also a giver should it be any wonder that His children will also be? His love language is expressed in His gracious release of undeserved favor and blessing upon those who should have no hope to ever receive anything from Him. He gave grace in choosing us before the foundation of the world. He gave hope by investing much promise to those who would hear through His prophets of old. He gave measureless treasure when He deposited His Son in a virgin’s womb. He gave boundless joy when that perfect child broke the Bethlehem silence with a cry of humanity. He gave evidence and truth as He walked beneath our sun and revealed Himself to a blind and desperately needy humanity. He gave a ransom when nails pierced His body and the sky went black as He drank the cup of our curse until the last dregs were consumed. He gave victory when an empty tomb declared His supremacy over death and sin. He now gives life to all those who believe Him and trust that His work has sufficed the demands of the law against us. He gives Himself daily to those who welcome Him as Shepherd – leading, feeding, protecting and carrying us through life-terrain which would otherwise overwhelm us. There are also the resulting ramifications of His great gift of salvation: love, joy, faith, peace, hope, power, purpose and security. He has given us eternal promises that are as iron-clad as is His perfect character. Our eyes will behold Him and we will see Him as He is. He has promised to banish and destroy our soul-foe, Satan, and to deliver us from our flesh and this world system which serves to obscure Him from us daily. In the end, we will be with Him and nothing will be in between- an eternal embrace and an unparalleled reality which will open anew to us.
Yes, the best has never even been remotely considered and He will give this also to us then as surely as He has graciously granted us all that we already have now. God is the preeminent Giver…is it any wonder that we celebrate His birth by doing the same? However short we fall in our own giving, we are reminded that we so give because we have been made first to receive. That is the key to it all: those who have received the Giver become like Him. He is the good and perfect gift. Remember that while you unwrap all lesser gifts this Christmas.