Tonight is the night. The big red man arrives.
Image via here.
Have you been naughty or nice this year? “He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows when you have been bad or good, so be good for goodness’ sake.” Expectations of what awaits you under the tree are usually high. For many, the quality of the gift received depends on how good of a friend you’ve been to the giver this year. Unfortunately, sometimes the gifts we receive can take a knock to our pride and lead to disappointment. “I only got [insert disappointing present] this year?! I deserve more than that! This is going back.” Sadly, many of us find similar ungrateful thoughts underlying our sweet ‘this is lovely, thank you so much’ responses to our gifts. How unfulfilling. How much do you have to do to receive the gift you want? You can’t do it all, you say.
Thankfully, we celebrate Christmas for this very reason. We can’t do it all. We will never be ‘good enough’ and meet ALL our friends and families standards and on our own and we certainly have no hope of meeting God’s standards. We celebrate Christmas because we’ve gained a saviour, Jesus Christ, fully God, fully human, the one who paid the price for our constant failings by his death on the cross. His birth, death and resurrection is the gift that offers us eternal life. The gift that offers us complete joy, peace and satisfaction. He offers this not on the basis of whether we are naughty or nice, but rather by grace, a free gift available in exchange for our faith and trust in him.
As summarised by John Piper:
- Jesus came at Christmas to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).
- Jesus came at Christmas to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).
- Jesus came at Christmas to give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
- Jesus came at Christmas not to call the righteous, but sinners (Matthew 9:13).
- Jesus came at Christmas to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).
- Jesus came at Christmas that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death (Hebrews 2:14).
This is why we celebrate. It’s CHRISTmas; not SANTAmas. It’s a celebration of a free gift, which only results in everlasting joy and life if we accept it. You won’t need a receipt to return this one. This is the gift that won’t disappoint this Christmas.