One of the problems of living in such an affluent society is that the value of our gifts to each other is greatly diminished. People who already have everything no longer appreciate mere tokens and the drive during the Christmas holidays is to buy bigger, more expensive, more impressive gifts or to not buy anything at all.
This societal condition seems to be worsening as we look at the behavior of our children. We are encouraged to give them everything freely without expecting them to earn what is given. Indeed, such expectations are seen as unloving examples of the worst kind of selfishness on our parts as parents. As a result the children have grown to anticipate these gifts as if it is their right to claim them, which, once again, greatly diminishes the value of those gifts.
Unfortunately, what is received without cost is rarely cherished. It used to be that a child who didn’t appreciate the gifts he or she was given was called a spoiled brat. As Christians, I think we all fit that description to a certain extent. We are all spiritually spoiled brats. How many of us truly appreciate the free gift God gave to us (John 3:16) through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus?
How would you feel, as a father who gave the most costly gift of all, only to have your children spit in your face in return? How would it feel to pour out so much love into your children’s lives only to have them scorn you by mocking you and rebelling from you? What would it feel like to offer grace and forgiveness to your children while they in turn feed their own selfish and hateful lusts? You want what is best for them, but they are essentially refusing the gift that cost you more than they can imagine. They reject Jesus the way the builders reject the stone in the follow verse from the Psalms:
The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone
How Do We Appreciate This Wonderful Gift?
I have been sharing my Christmas messages online for what seems like a long time now. The message is always a different take on the same subject. I want to help Christians keep the true meaning of Christmas close to their hearts. But how do we do that in a society where the Christmas season has changed so much?
The answer is in Luke 10:27:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.
Show your appreciate by loving God by living a righteous life, John 14:15:
If you love me, keep my commands.
And by loving other people Matthew 25:40:
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
This Christmas season I urge all of you to put others first in your life. Cast aside your selfish desires and invest your time and effort into blessing other people.
Something I have said in previous Christmas messages is that the first step in truly celebrating Christmas is to forgive the people who have wronged you. It is impossible to love the same world God loves (John 3:16) if you are living in unforgiveness. We need to forgive everyone, not only fellow Christians. Celebrating Christmas should start off with forgiving those who have different political views. It should start with forgiving the 1% or the 99% (depending on which of those you associate yourself with). Celebrating Christmas should begin with forgiving those who desire more than anything else in the world to take Christmas away from you. God gave His son for all of these, the least of His children (if you must see them that way), and it is His command to us as Christians to love them, too.
If you do not forgive then you are not following the commandment Jesus gave us in Luke 10:27. You cannot love without forgiving:
1 Corinthians 13:5 “love keeps no record of wrongs.”
It is time for Christians to take ownership of Christmas and stop blaming others for taking it away from them. No one can take Christmas away from a Christian unless that Christian has rejected that precious stone himself. Take ownership of Christmas. Celebrate God’s love for us and show your appreciation for the gift we were given by loving others and by living a life of righteousness.
Christmas Duet: My Gift To You
As part of this year’s message, I have written a duet and recorded it for you. I hope you enjoy it:
Previous Years’ Christmas Messages
Since I am still moving into this new blog, I have decided to try to find each of the previous Christmas message from other years and post them here as well.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Grace and peace be yours in abundance!