And so this is Christmas. In a few days we will wake up to the wonder of it all. I am really hoping this has more wonder for us all than before.
The wonder which comes from all the gifts.
All of them.
The ones we can wrap and the ones we cannot.
The shiny and fun ones you are really hoping you get, the ones you are really excited to give, the gifts under the tree, and the gifts in spirit around us. I used to feel bad about really loving giving and receiving gifts, as if it was unspiritual and I should be only thinking about baby Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas.
But then I woke up!
Dearest friends, gift-giving is quite spiritual and it is why Christmas exists! God Himself loves to give good gifts. And that is the whole entire thing about Christmas Day.
God loves to give good gifts! He is a master Gift-giver. And He loves that we enjoy gifts and love to give them too. He has given us sunsets and raindrops and stars and mountains and friends and family and jobs and leisure and babies and angels. Every good gift is from His hand.
One of the beautiful gifts we will continue to unwrap long after Christmas Day is the gift that Jesus brings with Him at His birth.
He gives grace.
Grace. It means unmerited favor. Favor upon you, a favor that you simply cannot earn. Favor where God looks at you, smiles at you, loves you, and says: "That's my girl." and "This boy's mine."
There is no earning on Christmas. There is no earning in knowing Christ. He has come to be With-Us and to rescue us from our sin-mess. And we cannot earn that. Not enough of any good works would add up to PERFECT. So let's be done with all the trying and let's replace it with trusting. That's why it is a gift from God. Look back at this again:
God saved you by His grace when you believed.
And you can't take credit for this, it is a gift from God.
Jesus with His grace comes and says: Stop hustling. Stop trying to be perfect (I Am). Stop beating yourself up (I will be). Stop thinking you have to earn my love (I give it freely). Stop and see Me. See Me in a toddler's belly laughs. See me in the quiet deer in your backyard. See me in the delicious coffee and cookies and family laughter. See me in the piles of presents and the wrapping paper everywhere. See Me saying rest. See Me saying Come to Me, all you who are weary and laden with heavy things and religion, I will give you rest. I have come to do the work. Your work is to believe that I am King. That's your only work. Believe in Me.
Merry Christmas, dear ones. May we celebrate the Joy to the world, with wonders of His love.
Dear God, Thank you for Christmas. For being an excited Dad, announcing with angels and trumpets and full blast glory that you have a Baby-King for us! A With-Us God. Immanuel. Thank you for gifts you can wrap and gifts you cannot. You love seeing us enjoy all kinds of gifts. Thank you for your love of giving. For your love, period. Thank you for grace. For unmerited favor upon a messy, broken person like myself. Thank you for coming. We love you.