Thursday, December 21, 2023

Gift of Christmas

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Gift of Christmas Submitted by Kay Crumley

Christmas is a time of celebration, of family gatherings, of gift exchanges, and of challenging emotions. Most people enjoy celebrating this season with decorations and shopping, but not all. Most are happy to meet with families to catch up with and encourage one another, but not all. Most get great joy from giving and receiving gifts with family and friends, but not all. Many people experience sadness, depression, loneliness, or regret as they enter this season. Those who don’t have a home or resources to decorate with bright and colorful decorations and hang lights on trees or on their houses are reminded that they have less than. Families can be challenging and often not easy to be around. Those who have lost loved ones and are grieving that loss are facing change in the family that is irreplaceableMemories are reminders of what isn’t and leaves them sad and alone. Even when other family members gather to continue with the joy of the season, it is not the same. Some will face disappointment because they are unable financially to provide that special gift to those they love and may have feelings of being inadequate. Those who are caught up in the excitement of the season often are unaware of others who are struggling. However, we often become so drawn to the commercialism that has grown from the trappings of Christmas we forget where the true meaning.  

What is the answer to this situation? How do we refocus our minds on the real meaning of ChristmasI taught the lesson last week on Genesis 3 and Luke 2Genesis 3 is the story of the first sin. Satan in the form of the serpent tempted Eve with the promise that she could be as wise as God, knowing good from evil. The forbidden fruit was the path to gaining that wisdom. He then lied to her by telling her that God would surely not end her life just for that one little sin. Eve listened to that temptation, she looked at the beautiful tree and delicious fruit and decided that Satan was right and shared the fruit with Adam. They both sinned, disobeyed God. That resulted in the death of their intimate relationship with God who had visited with them daily. They would now have to work the soil and have pain because their needs would not be provided by the Father. The Garden was no longer their home, they were evicted, and guards were placed to prevent them from returning. Sin entered the lives of humans for eternity. We now have a sinful nature. How does this relate to ChristmasWithout that sin which caused separation from God, from relationship with Him, there would have been no need for a Savior. God had a plan from the beginning for the restoration of our relationship with Him. God promised a Messiah who would be called Emmanuel, God with us. The Old Testament prophets wrote about His birth and death. Jesus is a part of the Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Luke 2 is the story of Jesus birth, of that prophecy becoming reality. 

In Luke 2:1-15 you can read the story of God using the Gentle leaders to require people to go to their family hometown for a census. Joseph took his bride to be, his betrothed, Mary, with him from Nazareth to Bethlehem. That was an 80-to-90-mile trip most likely taken by foot. The city was full of all those coming to register so there were no guest rooms available for them. However, they did find a safe place in one of the stables. They were dry and warm.   

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. 

It was there that Mary gave birth to this one who the angels, in Luke 1, had promised that she would be the mother to, the one they were to name Jesus. To ensure that He would be recognized as the promised Messiah there was an angelic messenger and choir who proclaimed His birth to the nearby shepherds, Luke 2:8-15.   

This Jesus became the unblemished, perfect sacrifice for our sins. He is fully God and fully human. That is the only way He can provide an eternal payment for the debt we owe to God for forgiveness of our sin.  

This gift is just that, a free offer for us to have our sins covered so that we can have that relationship with God just as Adam and Eve had. As believers, we can walk and talk with the God of all creation anytime we want to. Our relationship with Him has been restored. This is the true meaning of Christmas. The “stuff” that goes with this season is meaningless and can cause great pain for many. However, the one lasting gift costs us nothing because it the price has been paid by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Those who accept this gift can never be separated from the love of God. That is THE GIFT each of us needs.  



Devotional Archive