I gave a little talk this week at our women’s ministry night, Common Ground. This is the second half, read the first half here.
Everything we’ve been taught about Christmas says the holiday is all about giving. Giving. Giving. Giving. Giving.
But what if it was about receiving?
Think about it. Everything we do to prepare for Christmas comes and goes. Neatly stacked presents are ripped open and ravaged. You dress your family in color-coordinated outfits, to take a professional photograph for your custom printed holiday card, that you mail in a hand-calligraphed and foil-lined envelope. And where do those end up much of the time? In somebody’s trash can?
After all the meals are eaten, the special Christmas patterned china is washed and put away.
Parties end and everyone goes home.
The roaring fire burns out and the glowing candles are extinguished at the end of the night.
The once majestic Christmas tree lays sideways on the curb or in the burn pile.
Prized toys become tiresome and soon find themselves donated or discarded.
We gave and gave and gave. What’s left?
Christmas is over.
Imagine with me – when everyone has left and gone home, the children have gone to bed. There is one gift that remains under the dark tree. Way in the back. Wrapped in gold. Your name is on the tag:
The world says Christmas is about giving. I offer to you that it’s about receiving.
Beloved, open the gift.
John 10 says Jesus came so that you can have real and eternal life. More and Better life than you’ve ever dreamed of.
The book of John goes on to say to all who receive him, those who believe in his name, he gives the right to become children of God.
Believe in his name. Open the gift.
And after all the preparations we’ve done for Christmas – preparing meals and purchasing gifts and decorating our homes. Even preparing our hearts. When the meal is over and the presents have been opened and the wrapping paper discarded and the dishes are washed. When the fire is out. When the house still.
Still He is giving to us. While we’ve been preparing for Christmas, He’s been preparing for us.
John 14 says:
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Beloved. Open the gift.
“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth…Out of his fullness we have all received grace…”
Beloved, believe. And open the gift.