gold giftGod so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son that we might be saved by the sacrifice of His life to keep us from utter destruction and by giving us the example we must follow to successfully complete our journey on this earth.

God did this by having His Son born to us as a precious baby boy, who grew up (He grew from grace to grace), served God, His Father (I must be about my Father’s business), overcame sin and was translated (the Mountain of Transfiguration), laid down His life for us (the crucifixion), picked that life back up (the resurrection), and ascended back to His Father in heaven in uncontested victory. It was quite an assignment and He completed it in magnificent glory.

Indeed, having given His all for us, He is certainly more than worthy of our praise, love and gratitude. He is also worthy of having the joy of His birthday celebration focused on who He is now and not just on who He was as a baby.

We need to take our celebration of our Lord and King’s birthday out of the past and into the present.

Jesus Christ is a glorious, magnificent God in His own right who is living today not as a baby, but as the glorious being He is now. He continues to love us and work in great strength and power to help us overcome sin and enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Christ said, “In my Father’s house there are many mansions… I go to prepare a place for you… that where I am there you may be also” (John 14:2-3). Jesus does not lie, therefore His activities are still, as you can see from the above statement, very much focused on us, all of us, living here today on this planet called earth.

Then, why do we focus our celebration of His birthday on the baby He was 2000 years ago, instead of on the glorious, all powerful being He is today?

Yes, the story of God’s gift to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, certainly needs to be repeated and kept alive in our hearts, but even more needed is the story of His life and His present activities for us now, today. And, instead of so much focus on giving gifts to one another, we should be focusing on the gifts we are giving to Christ. After all, it is His birthday we are supposed to be celebrating.

And, yes the Christ dwells in each of us and Jesus said that what we do to the least of humankind we do unto Him. However, few if any of us approach our Christmas giving to one another as a gift to the Christ Child that lives within each of us. Instead we are more often concerned about what we will be getting for Christmas and that we give each person a gift equal in value to what they have given us.

For example, if Aunt Bess gives us a piano for Christmas one year, a microwave the next year and a stereo the next year; we wouldn’t think of only giving her a silk scarf for her hair, or a pair of winter gloves for the cold weather, or just a pair of boots for rainy days, because that is just too small considering what she always gives us.

See what I mean? Maybe Aunt Bess needs a scarf or gloves or boots for her protection from the cold and rain because she never thinks to buy them for herself, or for whatever reason. Then the Christ could rejoice in such gifts given with genuine love and concern for her needs and well-being, instead of a gift just for the sake of “appearances”.

Think about it, in most cases the givers and the receivers of this world expect to “equalize” their gifts instead of giving and receiving in love, knowing that the gifts are intended for the Christ within and not the little temporal self, who seeks only its own selfish wants. And, then of course, there are those who only want to receive without giving at all, we won’t even discuss that sad state of being at this time.

When we give to the Christ Child within each of us, then we link into the beautiful story of Christ’s birth so long ago and give it now-time meaning.

However, first and foremost, we should focus on the celebration of our glorious Lord, Savior and King, Jesus, the Christ, of today.

Can you imagine someone giving you a birthday party by pulling out all your baby pictures and telling the story of your coming, all the happenings during your gestation and birth, and everyone at your party exchanging gifts with one another, eating and drinking, singing songs and “making merry” without even acknowledging your presence or giving you one gift? Weird way to celebrate your birthday isn’t it?

Well, isn’t that about what happens during Christmas when we are suppose to be celebrating Jesus’ birthday?

Think about it, but don’t stop there, if you can see the merit in what is being said here, then do something about it! Start by giving at least one Christmas gift to the One who’s birthday we are celebrating, Jesus Christ.

We can give beautiful gifts like promising to be more loving, or pledging to be more like Him in dealing with others, and following through by doing those things the best we can with His help. There are endless things we can give our Lord, things that show Him we love Him as who He is today. These gifts have to do with changes within ourselves to become more like Him. Remember He said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Then, of course, there are the gifts to Him of visiting the sick and the imprisoned, feeding the hungry, etc., which He explained is the same as doing them unto Him.

As for our material gifts to one another, we can give them in true love and appreciation for the Christ that dwells within each of us. Gifts that are measured by the joy they bring or the need they fill, and not by the money they cost. These are a few of the things we can do to start to make Christmas not just a remembering time, but a glorious celebration of Christ for now-time.

God bless you all during this blessed season. I hope you will join me in saying:

Happy Birthday Lord Jesus Christ! I love you with all my heart. I rejoice in the glory and power of who You are today. Thank you for your wondrous gift of salvation and continuing love and care.

Amen.

— Vance Payne

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