I’ve been trying to figure out how to juggle writing, family, and church, without dropping the ball before Christmas got added to the list. My first impulse is to run and hide from this whole messy madness called Christmas in America. Right now, I’m busy procrastinating  to avoid it all.

While everyone’s out there writing about mistletoe and “Away in a Manger,” I’m pulling together another post in my series of interviews with pastors and pastors’ wives entitled, Fire Fighter, Fire Keeper, Heart Healer. One year, my first post in December was, How can a Loving God Send People to Hell? So, in case you missed it, here you go! Hope you’ll drop by for a visit and say hi. Feel free to invite some other folks over too. Here’s the address: In Answer to the Question: How Can A Loving God Send People to Hell?

I know, not exactly the holly, jolly fare everyone expects, but that’s okay.

It’s expected, so I thought I should put a piece out there with a pinch of merry and a dash of jingle before the big day. But, I can’t think of any greater gift to give than truth wrapped in love, especially when that Truth and Love is God incarnate, born to die so we could live.

 

The Prophecy:

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NKJV)

The Fulfillment:

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:21-23)

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. (Luke 2:11-12)

Wrapped in white and tied with red ribbon, Jesus offers the gift of Himself, His mercy, grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love. He won’t force Himself on us. Even if we put Him off or reject Him, Jesus leaves the gift of Himself on the table.

What a trade—our sin for the Savior’s salvation! He spent Himself to purchase our forgiveness. That’s costly—living and giving and dying for others, laying down His life from first to last breath.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed.  (Luke 4:18 NKJV)

Hallelujah and amen. Happy birthday, Jesus. But I have no gift to bring, pa-rup-a-pum-pum.

Do you know most things we can actually give Jesus are bad and broken things? We can give Him our anger, our hurt, our bitterness, our broken hearts, broken promises, broken lives, and dreams—our sin. We can give Him our praise, of which He is most worthy. But even then, He helps. I often pray, “God, give me words to praise you.”

He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord.  (Psalms 40:3)

I believe praise is most precious when we offer it in hard times.

Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. (Hebrews 13:15)

Any good things, any abilities I have to offer are gifts from God. The only good in me is Jesus working in and through me.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17)

Even repentance is a gift from God.

Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. (Acts 5:31)

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44)

“Thank you Lord.”

All I am really offering when I do anything of value is giving back to God what is already His which He graced me with.

So, I was thinking, what if we gave our self fully to Christ? Our self will, our selfishness. What if, as we remember the miracle of the babe laid in the manger, we laid ourselves at the foot of the cross? Are we willing to gift ourselves to others? What if we brought the gift of another soul to the cross, to Christ, for Christmas?

The perfect gift is Christ Himself. The next best thing to give is of ourselves: our time, an understanding ear, an open and forgiving heart—and not just for a day. In all the hurry and scurry of the season, it’s easy to get caught up stuffing ourselves and our loved ones with more stuff and still come up empty, because the only real fulfillment is found in Christ. Amidst all the hustle and bustle of finding presents, I must remember to pause and enjoy His presence. Hey; don’t forget to throw a little jingle in the kettle as you rush home with your treasures, and don’t forget Who the real Treasure is.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. (II Corinthians 4:7)

Believing for a white Christmas for you and me.

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18 NKJV)

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Wishing you a holly, jolly, holy, Christmas. God bless.