Thanksgiving – what a day. 4am alarm clock, 5am trip to the airport, long flight, rest, food, football, family, more food, more football, rest again, more food, more football…and throughout all of that the underlying conversation of “so what do you have to be thankful for this year?” And for me, as I hope is the case for you, though there have been trials, I can say definitively that there is MUCH that I am thankful for. So for me it was a day of much reflection and worship. God is good all the time and everything that we consider to be good in this life is a gift from him. James 1:17 says “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
Gifts Over Giver?
As a culture it takes us less than 24 hours to go from the day in which we are the most thankful to God for what He has done for us and given us, to a society that is willing to trample each other for the chance to get an extra $30 off of that flat screen or iPad we have been lusting after for months. A people that is so focused on getting the best deal or some free gifts, that we completely lose our focus on the Giver. Have you been distracted and fallen prey to the constant barrage of advertising, and commercialism? Are the thoughts and desires related to the gifts you hope to receive or the gifts you want to give this season so strong that your focus has been diverted away from the Giver? Lets all take the next few moments and turn off the loud distractions of the TV, the radio, the billboards and this culture of retail that surrounds and distracts us and turn our focus back to the gospel. The truth of the greatest gift ever given! And the Giver of that gift, Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). You see, God is the ultimate giver! Before we could even think of giving Him anything, He gave us His Son, and with that gift, the promise of eternal life.
The Ultimate Gift
As we enter into this season of Advent, rather than being distracted by the commercialism and advertising, let us turn our hearts and minds to the true reason we celebrate Christmas. That Jesus Christ thought enough of you and me that He left heaven to be born as a baby to an unwed teenage girl in a cattle barn. Despite having the same family conflicts and suffering under the same hardships that you and I do, He lived the prefect life that we should live, but don’t. He died the terrible death, and suffered the horrible separation from God His Father, that we should, but will never have to because He did it for us! God raised Him from the dead on the third day, conquering death and Hell once and for all! And because of this, we who put our faith in Him can have eternal life. What an amazing gift!
The thing that always stops me short is the thought that Christ did what He did so that He could have a personal relationship with me…and with you. Let that just sink in for a minute. Jesus is God, He has everything He ever wants or needs. If He wanted a new Mercedes or Porsche for Christmas, He would have it. If He wanted a new iPad or flat screen for Christmas, He would have it. If He wanted any THING for Christmas, He would simply make it so, but that is not what Jesus ever wanted…He wants YOU! He wants your love, and your worship! He wants to spend eternity with YOU! And you and I, as lost and damaged in sin and pain as we are, are so important to Him, that He gave everything to do what He did for you and for me! Amazing!! Hold that, embrace that, focus on that truth!
I want that to be our example this Christmas season. Let us desire a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ, over any earthly gift we could receive, and Let us desire to share Jesus with those around us more than any earthly gift we could give.
“For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)