There are things we do in the sight of man to make ourselves acceptable to one another, and thus we create a personal standard of being “better than”, that, whenever in comparison, always puts us on top. But what goes unnoticed, unscrutinized by many and ignored by ourselves are the thoughts and actions that are hidden to all but God. Because we are not aware of any discrepancy between the standard He upholds and the one we hold over ourselves, we see no need for redemption, and are in fact unaware of our sin. We have no need of a Savior. We have “weighted” ourselves and have come out more good than bad; and after all, that’s what counts in the end, right?
But this time of year holds a special reminder for those living in countries where Christian traditions are still upheld. We are surrounded by songs of hope and joy, scenes of giving and laughter. And on at least one corner in every town there is found the scene of a baby in a manger, with Mary the mother, Joseph the husband of Mary, angels, and animals.
Put yourself in the place of Mary, the mother, for a moment. What humble surroundings, to give birth in a manger in Bethlehem where the animals were kept. But even this was special, for they were no ordinary mangers in Bethlehem. You see, Bethlehem was the place where all sacrificial lambs for Jerusalem came from – the lambs that would atone for the sin of Israel for one more year. And so it was, too, that the very Son of God would also become the ONE Sacrificial Lamb for us, that would atone for the sins of the world, once and for all. So it was important that He be born in the manger in Bethlehem.
We hear stories of the wise men, too, which came to visit Mary’s son, God’s son, bestowing gifts upon him. So the first Christmas involved God giving His perfect Gift to man, and man giving their gifts in turn to God, not in us giving gifts to one another. But these days, it is all about that perfect gift, the perfect tree, the perfect dinner, the perfect atmosphere, and so on. Yet none of it brings absolute contentment or fills us with the peace we long to hold. And how often in the midst of it all do we forget of other folks in other cultures or countries who have no means at attempting to make anything “perfect”. Like the soldier, for example, on the battlefield or perhaps in the middle of the desert, with an MRE (“Meal-Ready-to Eat”) as his only holiday feast, and perhaps a scrawny Christmas tree made from old antenna parts & duct tape. But who perhaps celebrates with the Christ child in his heart.
In all our busy-ness and distraction, we sense there is something more. There is a hole in our soul that is God-shaped, and God-formed; one that He created in us, and one only He can fill. Do you feel it? It is that one missing piece that drives us in search of what will fill it. Too often this includes career, sex, drugs, alcohol, anger, a “work ethic” that drives us or even a good desire to serve and pour ourselves out for some cause. We are all in search, not realizing there is but One -the Great I AM, Son of God – who can fill it. That gift of a personal relationship and walk with the Creator of this universe!
As the Christmas holiday – Holy Day – approaches, and things in our lives begin to come to a much slower pace, we are allowed glimpses of love, family, joy; and if we are willing to see it, redemption.
You see, Christmas really is the beginning of a love song poured out over the ages and written just for us. It all starts with God’s gift to us – the baby in the manger. Quiet yourself, and listen for the voice of the Living God…
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not die, but have everlasting LIFE”. John 3:16 (emphasis mine)
If we allow Him to become our standard, all of the sudden we are undone. All our goodness and attempt at perfection appears as filthy rags, and we find ourselves in need of redemption, in need of a Savior. What can we do then but to make the conscious choice to accept the one gift – the gift that God gave to us – His Son – and allow Him to fill that God-shaped hole in our soul, to bring redemption, life, and peace.
I wish you all the redemption and peace found only in Christ this Christmas season, and for God to draw you closer to Him in the new year than you ever have been before.
5 thoughts on “A Christmas Message”
Merry Christmas Lisa and Uwe! Love you and your blog, but especially love you!
Merry Christmas to you and Uwe! Love you and your blog, but especially love you!!
Merry Christmas to you, too, Jackie! Love you too!
You are so right on as usual. In Cubbies Sunday we celebrated Christmas. I wanted the kids to focus on gift giving to Christmas and to others. We had them being in gifts to donate to the Ronald McDonald house and then had them spend time during craft making a card in which the cubbies thought of things they could give to Jesus, such as toys etc. Tybee verses I used by verses to support giving gifts to Jesus. The wise men brought expensive gifts the Shepards brought thier worship to God. John 3:16 talks about how God gave us the ultimate gift when He gave us Jesus.
Thanks for sharing, Randi, your lesson fits right in, and will hopefully be one the Cubbies remember for a long time!