Are We Focusing More On The Gifts Than The Giver?

Grace For The Journey

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December23PictureForPastorsBlog  Burned out from too much shopping?  Stressed out from too much celebrating?  Exhausted from making too many preparations for the big day?

For many Christians, the answer is YES, YES, a thousand times YES!  If we are not careful, we can celebrate Christmas just like millions of people around the world who celebrate it without Christ – those who neither have Christ on their minds nor in their hearts.  Sadly, with the stranglehold that commercialism and materialism have placed on our society, it is easy to get swept up in the “rush” to Christmas that is causes us to not have Christ in the heart or on the mind.

Here is a good question to meditate on and marinate in during these next two days:

If someone watched a video of the next 48 hours of your life – what you thought, what you said, and what you did – what would they think Christmas is all about?  Christ?  Or something else?

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:15 – “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

The confession of our lives should be the expression of Christ in word and deed. Our lives should be the same as the first-century Christians. In Acts 4:13 the Bible describes what the people in their day noticed – “… they marveled, and they took note of them they had been with Jesus.”  People who come in contact with us should be able to realize the difference Jesus is making in our lives.  They should connect with Him through our lips and our lives – our profession and our practice.

A little over 2,000 years ago, God gave us the greatest gift the world has ever known. The most costly gift in the universe, God’s Son, was given to us in the flesh, from the cradle to the tomb.  He who started out as a baby, cooing in a manger, ended up beaten and bleeding on a cross, gasping out His last breaths.

But the story doesn’t end there!  Three days later God raised this precious gift from the dead, confirming that Jesus was who He said He was and did what He said He was going to do.  He crushed the serpent.  He conquered sin.  He came out of the grave and conquered death!

Christmas is a time of celebration and enjoy the good gifts God has given to us!

But we must take care not to focus more on the gifts than the Giver.  The Giver is Jesus, who is the Gift.  He is to be enjoyed and celebrated.  We are to say along with Mary, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).  Mary’s confession confessed Christ.  She surrendered control of her life to the only One worth surrendering to – Jesus.  She gave up her dreams, her hopes, her plans, her agenda, her preferences, and her reputation.  Mary willingly submitted to the will of God.  She released her grip on all her good gifts in order to cling tightly to the Giver of the greatest gift.

God never intended to have only a portion of our hearts.  He wants all of us, and He will tolerate no rival.  He will use every means necessary to give us what He knows is best for us.  His best may come in the form of a wilderness experience or a windfall.  Regardless of what it is, He wants all of you and He wants you all the time.

So how will you make these next 48 hours different from the last 48 hours?  Perhaps it’s not to be found so much in what you will do, but rather in whom you believe and become.  This Christmas, don’t get so caught up with the busyness of Christmas that you forget to focus on developing your relationship with Christ … “He who is seated on the throne and says, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5) . . . and that includes you!  Are people seeing that in you!

This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey … Rest in this eternal truth … AMEN!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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