As much as I love Christmas, there is a pressure I feel every year. It’s not the pressure of buying gifts and getting them wrapped. I am always prepared. I make my list and check it twice. It’s not even the pressure of all the parties we host. My wife and I always enjoy having people in our home, especially during the Christmas season.
While hard to explain and maybe even harder to understand, I feel the weight of the Christmas season coming to an end. When I am listening to Christmas music in November, I feel no pressure. There is so much time left. But once you get to December, the season begins slipping away. Knowing the time is short compels me to enjoy each day, but it also creates an internal pressure that is hard to put into words. Strange, I know!
That sense of urgency raises an important question that must be asked. What are you doing with your time? Are you aware that your life, like the Christmas season, only has a limited number of days? I hope you are living with a sense of urgency, knowing that your life – like the Christmas season each year – will come and go before you know it.
Are you like the shepherds? They were invited to meet the Christ child, and they responded in obedience and worshipped. Are you like Mary? She watched the events of the birth of her Savior, thinking deeply and pondering all the events in her heart. Are you like Joseph? He trusted the plan of God even when he could not understand it all.
In all probability, most people today view Christ in the same way as people at the time of the first Christmas. So many in our culture are certainly not despising Christ but not quite worshiping either. Most are just stuck in the muddy grounds of indifference. Allowing the distractions of everyday life to captivate their attention, many simply miss the Christ of Christmas. Consumed by talk of viruses, stock markets, and retirement plans, others fail to behold the glory of Christ. I beg you, do not miss the miracle of Christmas this year. Jesus came to earth to be our sin-bearer that through Him, we would be saved. Read that previous sentence again slowly and ponder what that means for you.
The greatest gift you can receive this Christmas season is not the coat you are hoping to get. It is not the diamond ring you have been hinting about, and it is not even the car that you hope will be delivered with a bow. The greatest gift you can receive is the grace of Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches that if you confess your sin, have faith in Jesus Christ alone, and believe that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. When you receive Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you have been given the greatest gift imaginable. If you have any questions about the truth of the gospel, take a minute and look up the following verses in the New Testament: Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, and 10:9-10.
Do you feel pressure to get someone that perfect gift this year? Are you wracking your mind trying to come up with a showstopper? Have you searched high and low and failed to find that gift that no store can seem to keep in stock? None of those would be the best gift you can give this year for Christmas anyway.
I encourage you to stop and consider the true meaning of Christmas. Think about the Messianic prophecies and be encouraged that they were fulfilled in Jesus. Consider the promise God gave concerning what His Anointed One would do for you. Praise Him for keeping His Word. Meditate on the miracle of the angelic announcements and remember the response of the shepherds and the obedience of Mary and Joseph. Finally, ponder the words of Simeon and John the Baptist. The baby of Christmas was born to be the Lamb of God that would take away the sin of the world. The best gift you could give this year is simply to offer your heart to the Lord in worship and follow Him all the days of your life.
Christmas is God’s greatest gift to the world. Sinners find forgiveness and salvation in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Will you receive the gift of grace He offers?
I pray this year you will intentionally contemplate the meaning of the season and that you will not let worldly distractions take your eyes off of Jesus. Slow down. Ponder. Obey. Worship. And may you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!
(this is an excerpt from Christmas: God's Greatest Gift written by Michael)