Jesus Christ is a gift to us all. John 3:16 in the Bible tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This is a relational exchange, because a gift must be received in order to be complete. The fullness of a gift is not made complete until it is received.
I spent my early years not receiving the gift of truth, of hope, of joy; the gift of Jesus Christ in my life. But when I was ready, Christ was there for me. I had to receive Him personally, I was not forced to receive the gift.
As I reflect on memories of my past Christmas experiences, I look back with fondness on Christmas Eve. The excitement of the coming day. Knowing presents and stockings waited for us in the morning. I remember we would all sit down together, myself and my three brothers. My mother would read to us “The Night before Christmas.” I still have the old, faded and worn copy that my mother read from on Christmas Eve. I treasure the memory.
As good as those memories are, the joy I feel today as I celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ adds even more excitement for me. All the excitement, energy and happiness surrounding the Christmas season is increased as I understand the personal gift of Jesus Christ. Because God loves me, He gave to me. This understanding adds more, not less, to my appreciation and my gratitude for my life.
So, whatever your family’s tradition is at Christmas this year, I am going to recommend adding the reading of the Christmas story as it appears in the Bible. This story can be found in Luke 2:1-20.
Maybe on Christmas morning, after the presents are opened and before breakfast begins, gather your family at the table and simply read this story together. Let the fullness of Christmas morning be made complete in your family celebration. The gifts we receive from one another are good things, but receiving the gift from God in Christ Jesus provides a peace, an understanding and an appreciation that lasts an eternity.
Merry Christmas to you and yours,
Service Center Director | The Salvation Army of Pickens County