Posted on December 13, 2019. Let's be honest. Some people will open their gifts this Christmas and be disappointed. They'll pretend to be happy when they're not.
But even if you do receive what you wanted, what you hoped for, most likely there will be a cooler, newer version of it that comes out in a few months. And over time, you may not even remember some of the gifts you received.
On the other hand, sometimes we receive gifts that we don't appreciate at the moment, but they grow more valuable to us over time. It might be something your child or grandchild made for you. Then five or 10 years later, that gift is precious to you.
Or maybe when you were a kid, your grandparents put money into a savings account for you instead of giving you gifts. You didn't like that very much back then because you wanted a toy instead. But then 25 years pass and you check your balance with the accumulated interest. You say, "Thank God for Grandma and Grandpa."
Like some gifts that grow more precious with the passing of time, the gift God has given to us, the gift of eternal life the Bible calls "the indescribable gift," only gets more precious.
God gives us a life worth living on this earth. Jesus came that we might have life in all of its fullness. Yes, it is the promise of life after death – and what a glorious promise that is. But it's also the promise of life during life. Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10 NLT).
Christmas marks our lives. We think of last Christmas and remember loved ones that were with us that are not with us now. There's something about the Christmas season that causes us to think about these things.
And as we get closer to eternity, we start thinking a lot more about the next life. God's gift to us, the gift of eternal life, is the most valuable of all gifts.
Jesus came to be born in the manger and to give his life as a ransom for many by dying on the cross and rising from the dead. Speaking of himself he said, "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45 NLT).
He came to Planet Earth on a rescue operation to ransom us. We were under the power and control of the devil, and he paid the ransom, which was his own life. He paid that price so we could be made right with God.
The birth of Jesus Christ was such a significant event. And I think when you get to the raw truth of what took place, it's actually a far more appealing story.
We sometimes take the Nativity story and almost treat it as though it were a children's story. We forget that it's a historical event that actually happened.
Christmas has a lot to do with promises. Going back to the very beginning, God promised Adam and Eve that a Deliverer would come one day. God promised the prophet Isaiah that a virgin would conceive and give birth to the Savior. And God promised Mary she would give birth to that Savior. Evidently God wants us to know that he keeps his promises.
And Christmas is a promise. It's a glimpse of something greater. That's why we want to make every effort – and make sure we've leveraged every opportunity – to share the true Christmas story about the indescribable gift God gave to the world. Don't be intimidated by it or be afraid to share what you believe.
When you're with friends and family this Christmas season, take advantage of opportunities and leverage them for God's glory. Because as Christians, we want people to have this indescribable gift that we have.
Remember what this message is all about. It is not about the presents or decorations. It is not about any of that. The message of Christmas is Immanuel, God is with us.
At this time of the year, there are a lot of reasons people get depressed. Maybe their family has fallen apart. Maybe they're going through a divorce. Maybe they're alone. Maybe they're very sick. Things happen that can cause us to be in the doldrums.
Yet God is with us. He's with us in our pleasure, and he's with us in our pain. He's with us wherever we are, and he has everything that we need.
You are known to God and loved by God. He desires a relationship with you, and that is why he sent his son to be born in a manger on the first Christmas.
Jesus was born so that we could be born again. He left his home in Heaven to make a home in our hearts.
And that is what we're really longing for. We're not longing for Christmas but Christ, not merriment but the Messiah, not goodwill but God himself, not presents but his presence in our lives.