THE GIFT OF CHRISTMAS
The Christmas season carries with it the fragrant scent of generous giving. It is quite unthinkable that we forget about gifts during this time of the year. Just as we think of what we will give to our family and friends, we also get excited of the presents with cards that bear our names. Surely the message of giving almost naturally blends with the cool breeze of December.
This feeling of gift-giving also comes naturally when this special season arrives. It is because Christmas in itself is a gift – the Gift of all gifts. On that first Christmas Eve when Jesus Christ was born, we received the highest blessing in all of mankind’s history – the Gift of God’s Presence. Thus says in the Scriptures, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”-- which means, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Every Christmas, we remember this supreme manifestation of grace-driven generosity – the Almighty God giving us His only Begotten Son that we may experience His Presence. And this is also the revelation found in John 1:14a: “And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us…”
Indeed, the Advent of Jesus Christ is the arrival of God’s loving embrace to the lost mankind.
Unwrapping this gift of His Presence leaves us immensely fascinated by an overflow of amazing gifts. The highest and most precious of all is the salvation that was made possible by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Once again, mankind has been given the opportunity to be reunited spiritually with its Powerful Creator. This renewed connection with our Heavenly Father has assured us of the daily gifts that we need throughout the year. Truly, every needed blessing is ours to claim.
His Provision. Proverbs 10:22 says, “The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and He adds no trouble to it.” Our Lord Jesus Christ brought to us the blessing of our Heavenly Father and with it is the promise of wealth for all of us. Everyday, we are guaranteed of His timely blessing that will fill what we lack. Whenever we think of what do not have, let us be reminded of the truth that God has everything we need, and He is very near. Wherever we are, He stands beside us, willing and ready to meet our material/financial needs. As we are filled to the brim by God’s provision, we also become blessings to the needy and lacking around us, making us His representatives of grace in this world.
His Healing Touch. Jesus Christ came to restore us to wholeness. He proclaimed this divine calling in Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” We who were once prisoners of sicknesses have been given freedom through His Healing Touch. Physically wounded? His touch can bring restoration to your body. Emotionally injured? His touch can nurse back to health your despairing heart.
His Comfort. Life is never always fine and pleasant. We reach a point where things do not go as planned, and we find ourselves in the darkest valleys of our journey. During these times of depression, God’s answer is His Comfort. The apostle Paul firmly believed this, evident in his heartening words in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” The God of all comfort is our constant companion in this life fraught with difficulties and failures. Whenever we stumble and think we can never recover, we feel the encouraging warmth of His divine embrace.
His Strength. The gift of His strength has also been made available to us by Jesus Christ’s Incarnation. We can always rest on the promise of empowerment from the Omnipotent One. Second Corinthians 12:9 clearly expresses this assurance: “…My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” The keywords are sufficient and perfect, for they convey the precise solutions to the flaws of our own strength. Our Living God knows that we are imperfect human beings with inevitable frailties, and so He showed His love towards us by being the Ultimate Strength of our hearts. Because of this, we overcome our weaknesses and are able continue the journey of life.
His Direction. Who has never found him/herself lost and confused? We all have our share of desert/wilderness experiences – in the uncomfortable place of seemingly endless wandering. During those moments, we see ourselves as helpless ones finding our way through the pitch dark surrounding. Hope appears nowhere to be seen or felt. No direction, no destination. Well, Christmas is the birth of the new direction in our otherwise confused journey. The Holy Infant in the manger is the affirmation of the sweet promise in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Isn’t it encouraging that when we see nothing good ahead of us, we hear God saying, “I know what is good for you, My child.” Therefore, let us heed the wise counsel of Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” And we can hope for the best as God leads us in the right path.
Truly, Christmas has showered us with the awesome gifts from above. With these gifts of his provision, healing touch, comfort, strength, and direction, we can experience life at its best, genuinely alive in the promise of the Life-Giver. In every circumstance, God proves to us His unequaled power and supremacy. The inspired words of 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 ring true, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
We face trials, but in God’s grace we obtain triumph after triumph, as we fix our eyes on none but our Lord Jesus Christ, the Ultimate Gift of Christmas.