Each year growing up, I made a list of things I wanted for Christmas. I’m pretty sure “a horse” topped the list every single year (and no, I never got one). I definitely knew that in order to get what I truly wanted, I had to be nice, not naughty. Looking back, that’s probably why I never got the horse. Anyhoo… As adults, we don’t worry about making Santa’s NICE LIST so we can get what we desire most. Instead we embrace Christmas as a season of giving, good cheer, and hope for the new year. And as Christians, we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.
Reconciliation to Almighty God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the greatest gift we’ll ever receive!
At the beginning of the New Testament in Matthew 2:11, we’re told that the three wise men brought extravagantly valuable treasures to the stable where baby Jesus rested with Mary. Upon seeing Jesus, the Magi bowed down and worshiped Him, presenting Him three gifts associated with kingship: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These men of high position recognized this child as Heir to the Throne.
Interestingly, Jesus’ birth is the only time in His earthly life that we hear of Him possessing earthly treasures. And we’re not told what Mary and Joseph did with these expensive gifts. However, in the next story of Matthew’s gospel he writes about Joseph’s dream warning him to leave Israel with Mary and Jesus, and escape to Egypt. They likely left most, if not all, of what they owned behind (Matt 2:13).
Although Christ is fully God and rightfully owns all of creation, He is also fully man. And approximately 30 years after the scene in the stable, Jesus affirmed His lack of earthly, material wealth. He proclaimed, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” Jesus’ words seem to indicate that not only did He travel light, but He didn’t maintain His own homestead. Rather, His treasures, literally and figuratively, are stored up in heaven (Matt 6:19–21).
As we learn about Jesus, we see that He embodies the greater gifts in life: love, community, authentic relationships, boldly speaking and living God’s truth, and spiritual health through intimacy with God the Father and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Christ’s desire was and still is to share these gifts with others. In Matthew 20:29–34, Jesus encountered two blind beggars on the side of the road who called to Him as the Son of David (a reference to Jesus as Christ, or Messiah). Jesus stopped and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Imagine! The Promised Messiah stopping and asking you, “What can I do for you today?”
These two men asked for their eyesight, and with compassion Jesus healed them. They followed Him, presumably receiving both physical and spiritual sight.
So, what does this mean for us during this season of giving? Two things.
First, FREEDOM. We don’t have to fixate on––or stress about––finding perfect gifts for others this Christmas. We also don’t have to be consumed with anticipation of what we might receive, nor with disappointment by what we don’t get. For those of us walking with Christ, we have the freedom to live unencumbered and without fear or stress because we’ve already received the best gift imaginable––life with Christ, both now and forever. Embrace the gift of Christ this Christmas! Receive Him anew with delight! Receive Him anew with joyful anticipation of a deeper walk together in the coming year as you pursue Him through His Word and prayer.
Second, AN INVITATION. This season, you’re receiving an invitation from Jesus to seek the greater gifts in life. He’s inviting you to join with Him and with His church. Jesus wants us to experience love, community, authentic relationships, boldly speaking and living God’s truth, and spiritual health through intimacy with God the Father and the indwelling Holy Spirit. This invitation is for EVERYONE!
I invite you to join with me in this: For the next few minutes, sit with Jesus. Set aside the hustle and bustle. Lay down thoughts of material gifts and treasures. With an open mind and open hands on your lap, sit with our Savior.
- Think about what the greater gifts in life are for you.
- Think about your greatest hopes and your deepest desires.
- Think about who He is and why He humbled Himself and came as a baby in the manger.
Now imagine you’re sitting by the roadside, and you hear that Jesus is coming.
- Imagine Him stopping in front of you.
- Imagine Him taking you by the hand.
- Imagine Him asking you, “Beloved child, what do you want me to do for you?”
This isn’t a genie offering wealth or prestige. This is your Savior, offering the best of life with Him. In prayer, look into His eyes and speak your heart. He would love to talk with you.
Friend, I’m praying for you in this season as Jesus offers you freedom from the world’s perspectives, and as He invites you to seek the greater gifts.
What is your Christmas wish?