As I decorate our tree for this wonderful Holiday, I am reminded of the reason that we celebrate. It is the day we remember Jesus’ Birthday, pure and simple! Some people may try to make it into other things, but trying to deny the reason for Christmas would be as foolish as saying that your birthday doesn’t exist because people do other things on that day. Would those you love let others tell them that they cannot celebrate your birthday the way they want because they don’t believe you exist or they don’t like the balloons that are flying from the lamppost in front of your home? NO… OF COURSE NOT! But God’s greatest enemy tries to tell us, especially at this time of the year, that Jesus was less important than fictional characters like Santa Claus, the Grinch, Scrooge or the conductor in the Polar Express! He even tries to tell us that Jesus was merely a good man, or a delusional prophet, with no special place in history. I guess it’s hard for some to admit their defeat, especially when it is eternal! But those who have been forever changed by His life, death and resurrection see things differently.
As Gary and I put up our tree, I began to think about Jesus’ life. He spent His early days as a carpenter. He knew wood very well. He already knew the reason He came to earth and was daily reminded of wood’s hardness… and its’ splinters. He must have thought about the variety of uses for wood… comfort, necessity, beauty. He must have thought about His future, when a tree would be used for a very different purpose… His crucifixion.
As I continued trimming, I thought about the lights on the evergreen that point to Jesus as the Light of the world. I reflected on the balls that, together with the lights, shimmer as the stars in the sky… the stars and the sky that He created. Their round shapes also represent the shape of this world that He came to save… not to condemn (John 3:17). They are a reminder that He made the world and that He made it beautiful!
I pondered the red ribbons and bows which made me think that He was, and is, the most precious of all Gifts; that He chose to shed His blood… to sacrifice His life… to provide Redemption for every one who would believe Him… for each of us who have already been adopted into God’s family and for all those yet to be adopted. No one has been given a greater gift than personal salvation… salvation from sin and eternal separation from God! No one has been given a greater gift than eternal life with the God who created and sustains the universe… the God who desires relationship with each one of us… with each person He created.
So, despite the attempt of all who try to prove that Jesus was unimportant, His legacy lives on… in His children. Those who have become a part of the family of God through Jesus’ sacrificial Gift, have been forever changed! Nations may rise and fall, but He will remain forever! His family will remain… with Him… forever.
This time of the year brings reflection. So, as we reflect, let’s not dismiss the One who made this celebration possible. Think on all that He has done for us… given us life and offered us a chance to be part of His family. Don’t pass up the opportunity to have a real celebration this year. Enjoy His birthday as part of His family! Life will never be the same! Rejoice! His Gift is salvation! Reach out and receive it! If you do, you’ll have received the world’s greatest gift….