Five years ago, when I lived in Stratford Ontario, I sat down with four of my daycare children and gave them the gifts I had so carefully purchased for them. I knew I had found each of them the perfect gift. They would love them, I was sure!
For three of them, it seemed I did. One little girl said “It’s just what I’ve always wanted!” Her older sister seemed in awe…”How did you know I LOVE horses?”, while the youngest girl, not even two, clutched her new doll to her chest and her whole face lit up…”Mine!” It made me happy inside to see their excitement and smiles.
Then came the fourth child. He tore open his gift, the one so thoughtfully wrapped with him in mind…but instead of a smile he angrily tossed the gift aside and said with a whine…”Awww…it’s not Lego Star Wars!” He crossed his arms and a scowl marked his young eight year old face. He sat there pouting and I sat there, jaw dropped! I have to admit it made me angry. To think the gift I had so carefully chosen for him, thinking he would love it; that it would be so carelessly tossed aside like a piece of garbage. That hurt!
It reminded me of something else. Christmas was but a few days away and if it were not for Jesus, there would be no Christmas…He is the “reason for the season.”
God sent his only son to be born in Bethlehem. He was The Perfect Gift, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger…in what would normally be used for the animals feeding trough A humble beginning for a king.
God knew that one day the baby Jesus would grow to be a man, and that one day that man would give his life for us all. He would die a brutal death on a cross, so that we; each and every one would in turn have eternal life…His perfect gift if we accept it.
1 John 4:9
God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life though him. This is real love….not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
Yet, so often we go through the Christmas season losing our focus. We are busy and stressed, trying to get it all done, house cleaned and decorated, baking done, and the menu planned, all while trying to find that perfect gift for our loved ones. We can so easily lose sight of the reason that we even have Christmas and it is Jesus.
I have been finding this especially true this Christmas season. Lately there have been times that I have lost my focus, been distracted by all that is going on around me. Things in Honduras are very tense right now. There is much political unrest and things seem to be falling apart at the seams. I stress about wondering if Jake will be able to fly in. What if they cancel his flight? Will we be able to get to where we need to go in the city safely, or will the roads be “taken?” Our kids have lost so much school since the election on November 26, and although they have done their work online, they miss their friends. And what if the country enforces another curfew? And more recently, the concern about what is rumoured to come in the next couple days to Tegucigalpa. I don’t have all my Christmas shopping done, but I realize I just might have to be ok with that. It’s out of my control if the mall decides to close one day for safety reasons, or if the road happens to be blocked.
Looking at the situation here it can be very easy to fall apart and lose peace, and be fearful. But God has been reminding me of a verse in Isaiah.
Isaiah 26:3,4 tells us that” You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all those whose thoughts are fixed on you. Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord your God is the eternal rock. “
I love how the MSG words this verse…That “ people with their minds set on Him, he will keep completely whole.”
Now if we are completely whole….we are not falling apart. We are intact, we have it together and lack nothing. Because HE is our peace and peace isn’t found in stuff or circumstances or whether or not the Christmas shopping is done. If our minds are on him…the cares of this world are not going to crowd him out. He is the perfect gift. Born in a manger and later hung on a tree.
So, what will we do this Christmas with the most Perfect Gift? We can choose to cast it aside; rejected.. or we can accept him…God’s perfect gift of love to us…Jesus! Let every heart prepare him room. Is there room in your heart for Him?
For God so loved the world that He gave his only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.