Christmas is over. Soon the trees will come down as will the decorations and the lights. For some, there is really nothing quite like the excitement of Christmas morning – anxious kids, sleepy-eyed adults, the exchanging and opening of gifts. Some were opened to much delight as the peeling away of wrappings revealed something much desired or delightfully unexpected. Others were opened to a twinge of disappointment. Yes, the recipient was grateful but it was not quite what they were hoping for, and so some gifts will be returned and others will be exchanged. Such is some of the drama around Christmas.
Yet amidst all of this, the celebration of Christmas for some was more than just trees, lights, decorations, presents, or even family and friends. It was a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s gift to the world. The wrappings on that gift wasn’t fancy. Born in a stable to a virgin girl and her startled husband, wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a feeding box, how could one believe that this was no ordinary baby but rather the “Saviour, which is Christ the Lord”? But it was true! This gift, so nondescript as it seemed then, was one that superseded all other gifts imaginable. It could not be returned or exchanged, only refused, and to refuse it would be the biggest mistake that an individual could make. It was impossible to be fully reconciled to God without this gift as He later said of Himself, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, ESV).
While we may not be particularly thankful for some of the gifts we received at Christmas, here was one we could always be thankful for. By sending His Son into the world, God flung the doors wide open for our redemption. Judgement and condemnation were escapable because while the wages of sin is death, the gift of God, obtainable through Jesus Christ, was everlasting life. Given our spiritual alienation from God and the things of God, could there have been a greater gift?
As we leave this Christmas behind us, may we be constantly reminded that God’s gift to us is not only good at Christmas, but all throughout the year. Accepting that gift makes the world of difference in our lives and so like the Apostle Paul we can say, and should say, with a heart of gratitude, “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15).