And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. – Luke 2:12
Isn’t it so cool that the greatest gift this world has ever known came wrapped? Into this dark, sinful world the Son of God came to seek and save that which was lost. He came to save you. He came to save me.
I love to give my children gifts. I have a little girl whose love language is definitely “gift giving.” If my kids know a present is for them, the first thing they will do is tear into it by ripping that paper to shreds. They can’t wait to find out what is inside. Sometimes there are instructions. Sometimes they need Daddy’s help. Regardless, they do whatever is necessary to play with and enjoy what is inside.
It is interesting that the vast majority of Christians do not do the same thing with the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians will tell you He is the greatest gift to mankind. I think I knew this after I got saved, at least I was told. Unfortunately, I received this gift, and then proceeded to do absolutely nothing with that gift for years. I had the gift of salvation, but not once did I open it for myself and find out what salvation was really all about.
All the time in spiritual conversations people tell me they need to “do better.” People honestly believe that God is simply after their behavior. They say they need to be more patient, more forgiving, need to control their tempers, and this list goes on and on. Christians feel like they know what they “need” to do. Most of these men and women are very frustrated. They can’t figure out why they can’t seem to do what it is they know they need to do. Worst of all, they feel God is unhappy and disappointed with them.
Meanwhile, the gift that they received from God remains unwrapped. It sits there in the box waiting to be opened.
I have come to realize that there is only one thing that I can truly “do” for God. There is only one gift I can give back to Him. Thank God it is not simply to behave. The only thing I can do is carve out some time each day and simply spend it with Him. Sometimes, I open the gift right up, His presence fills my soul and it is joyous. Sometimes, I have to spend a few weeks or months reading the Instructions and figuring out the next piece I need to put together in my life. Sometimes, I simply have to pray and ask for Daddy’s help because I realize I can’t put it all together without Him. No matter what the next step is and no matter how long the next step takes, it brings me closer and closer to putting my life together and always brings me to a point where I enjoy His Presence even more.
This Christmas season, don’t just see Jesus as another ornament on display. See Him as the one who was wounded for our transgressions and pierced for our iniquities. Remember that God allowed him to be opened up and poured out so that we might be healed and filled.
Tear off the paper.
Open the box.
Fall in love with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It may be for the first time. It may be for the thousandth time. Either way . . .