Each year, it seems I feel the magnitude of Christmas on a deeper level, and yet I am acutely aware that my understanding is but a drop in the bucket of eternity. The enormity of God’s gift and Christ’s sacrifice are truly beyond comprehension.
And, as each year brings new encounters with the pain and sadness of the world—and my own—the more I am thankful for the tidings of comfort and joy heralded by the angels on the first Christmas night so long ago.
Everything we could ever need, hope, or long for was bundled up in a tiny baby: Jesus, Immanuel, God with us.
One of my favorite Christmas scriptures, so beautifully celebrated in Handel’s Messiah, is Isaiah 9:6 (NIV):
For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
So much is packed into these two short lines, each title given to Christ representative of a rich gift to us, His beloved.
As Wonderful Counselor, He is the gift of wisdom. When I don’t know what to do, He is faithful to lead and guide me on the right path; He is the light that shows the way.
As Mighty God, He is the gift of power. Through the work of Jesus, we see the power of God displayed. Death is defeated, sorrow and sickness vanquished, and in Him we have all we need to live the abundant, mighty lives He created us for (Philippians 4:13; 2 Peter 1:3).
As Everlasting Father, He is the gift of family. Jesus is the “exact representation” of the Father (Hebrews 1:3). Through Him, we are brought into God’s family, where we experience the truest, deepest, most intimate connection and community our hearts long for.
As Prince of Peace, He is the gift of rest. Where Jesus is, peace prevails. There is no storm He cannot soothe. He invites us into a lifestyle of rest, promising that His assignment is easy, our responsibility not hard to bear (Matthew 11:28).
As a holiday, one of Christmas’s distinctions is its emphasis on gifts. And though giving and receiving gifts from our friends and family is certainly a wonderful ritual, I’d like to encourage us this Christmas to spend a little extra time thinking not about what we are getting or even what we’re giving but what we have already received in Christ.
One of our deepest fears as human beings is that we won’t have enough—not enough money, love, resources, creativity, confidence, approval, connection, joy…
But the more we meditate on the gifts of Christ and the more we let His truth soak into our souls, the more we will experience Him at work in our lives. As we know Him, we will rest assured that all our needs are provided—our need for wisdom, family, power, and peace—all are found in Him. True joy flows from this.
Wishing you the happiest of Christmases!
Photo courtesy of Pexel.