Due to a full schedule from now until the end of the year, this will be my last post for 2011 and there is no better way to conclude this year than with a question: What does Christmas mean to you? For most, it is about shopping, packages, Santa Claus, great food, parties, trees, etc. I find it amusing that so many engage is all this “activity” and have no idea why they are doing so. For most of my adult life, I have lived far away from my family (I’m referring here to blood relatives; not my intimate circle of friends I consider family) and for years, I found it hard to reconcile that while I never heard a word from them throughout the year, they would give me a gift for Christmas. Why? I’m guessing it had to do with ritual or routine; after all, isn’t that what Christmas is about – giving gifts? Thankfully, I was able to eradicate being the recipient of that “ritual” and I pray that I have helped those in confusion understand what CHRISTmas truly means.
This is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In essence, it is a birthday party for Him, not for us. As a Christian, I live to honor God daily with my whole life. I live to bring Him glory all year long, not just on one day. Obviously, this post could be quite lengthy if I explained in detail the entire meaning of the Christmas message, but I’ll summarize it this way. Instead of spending lots of money you may not have on gifts for people you think you should give to out of ritual or routine, why not stop and reflect on why you are doing so. Now, with your whole heart, think honestly about why you love Christmas so much. Think about why you tend to smile more at this time of year, or why you are more joyful. Is it the hustle and bustle of the stores or the pretty lights in the yards or windows? That could be a function of it, but it certainly extends deeper than that. It is a celebration – a birthday party for Immanuel, which means “God with us,” and there is one gift that you can give Him that is the most special gift you can ever give regardless of how long you live. It is the gift of your life; the good, the bad, and the ugly; the whole enchilada so to speak. This is the gift that costs you nothing monetarily yet it has no end. It is the gift that keeps on giving and giving. Now that is what’s most meaningful about Christmas to me.
There is a wonderful book I read every year entitled “The Heart of Christmas” by six mighty men of God, including Max Lucado and Rick Warren. I highly recommend you buy this book, whether you have a relationship with the Lord or not. I would also like to refer you to the website, “The Way of the Master” (www.wayofthemaster.com) where many of your questions will be answered and where you’ll discover if you really are a “good” person or not.
This has been an amazing year and I am filled with thanksgiving to the Lord for all that He has done for me. Yes, this truly will be a great Christmas and yes, I do give gifts at this time of year; not out of ritual or a misguided obligation, but from my heart. I look forward to it and I’m always thankful when I receive a gift given to me in that same manner. However, nothing holds a candle to the gift the Lord Jesus has already given me, and that is why the gifts I give to Him are the best gifts I can give; the gift of my obedience, the gift of my devotion, and most importantly, the gift of my love to Him – the King of kings and the Lord of lords!
Have a Merry Christmas and I look forward to a great 2012 with you!