If you are anything like me, you love the joy of sharing Christmas gifts. The searching. The buying. The hiding. The wrapping. The anticipation. The unwrapping. The smiles. There is just something special about Christmas presents. It’s fun to get them. It’s fun to give them. When it goes well, it really feels like a magical time. And my favorite part of the Christmas gifting ritual has long been the opening of Christmas stockings. One after another, a stream of quirky little treasures brings laughter and smiles and questions and silliness and appreciation. I just love it!
And for all the fun of sharing Christmas presents with loved ones at this time of year, I still believe the greatest gift we can offer one another is our presence. I’m not saying we have to be there at a certain time of the Christmas holiday celebration for us to offer our best. I’m simply saying our greatest gift is to share of ourselves with openness and authenticity. The most real and valuable and personal thing I can give you is the gift of what is uniquely within me – my hopes, my beliefs, my fears, my joys, my tears, my spiritual journey.
I believe God has given me so many wonderful gifts and blessings, I could never name them all. And while the gift of redemption from my ugly sins by the blood of His perfect Son is one I most desperately need and could never ever earn or deserve by my own merit, it is the Incarnation that blows my mind the most. He gave us the gift of His presence!
I have shared my thoughts before about the unthinkable nature of the Incarnation – the Holy Son coming from ultimate glory to live among us as one of us. Remember in the opening narrative of Kung Fu Panda when Po (Jack Black) tells us that “Legend tells of a legendary warrior whose Kung Fu skills were the stuff of LEGEND!“? And he goes on to describe how masses of people went blind simply from gazing at his awesomeness. Yes, I’m a big Kung Fu Panda fan. But while that little story is really shared as over the top silliness from our daydreaming hero, the Truth is that God’s Word tells of the greatest warrior who ever lived leaving the unspeakable dazzling perfection of heaven to enter our stinking, sin-corrupted world as one of us, just to be with us, so He could redeem us, so we could live with Him forever. Okay…WOW!!! He shared Himself fully with us because He wants to be with us.
So as you embrace this Christmas season, close out another year, and move into a new year, I hope you will extend the gift of Jesus just a bit further. Share your self with the ones you love. Just as He did. Yes, have a great time with gifts and stockings and egg nog and mistletoe (does anyone still do that anymore?) and all the cultural Christmastime joy. But may you and I love more people more fully this season and this coming year than we have in the past. May we give more openly and more fully of our greatest gift – our presence. And may God be glorified as we share the story and the love of Jesus with one another throughout this Christmas season and beyond.
“I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people…Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger…Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”