But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid,
For look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people:
Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord,
Was born for you in the city of David.”
Luke 2:10-11 (HCSB 2014)
It was Christmas Eve. At five years old, I was excited about the occasion. With my siblings
gathered around her chair, Mother read to us as she did each night before bed. It was getting late when the door opened and Daddy entered with one of my brothers carrying a huge, gift-wrapped box. I could not contain my excitement! “Who is that for?” Daddy replied, “It is for me!” Then they carefully slid the box under the tree. When I could not wait any longer, I slowly made my way to the box and stuck my head under the overhanging branches of the tree. “Daddy,” I cried. “It says to Mother!” He chuckled and called me a little stinker for spoiling the surprise.
This is one of my favorite Christmas memories. Daddy gave a sacrificial gift to Mother out of his great love for her. It was an eight-piece place setting of China dishes. In all the years of their marriage, she had not had anything so special. It was costly and certainly not in the household budget, but it was a gift of love never forgotten.
Today, my parents have been gone for a long time. Somehow out of eight offspring, I ended up with Mother’s China. Daddy gave it to me after she died. It makes me wonder if he also remembered that long ago Christmas Eve and his 5-year-old daughter sneaking under the tree.
As I remember this story, I think of the sacrificial gift God gave out of His love for us when He sent Jesus to earth born on a day, we call Christmas. He is the forever gift that keeps on giving and that we should never forget. He is the gift of great love for all. But, to receive the gift, we must open it. We must trust and believe in His saving grace. God gave the gift of eternal life through Jesus, and we cannot truly appreciate the significance of Christmas until we accept His free gift of salvation through Christ. On the day Jesus was born, a multitude of the heavenly host with the angels began praising God. On the day of any one of us being born again through Christ, a celebration breaks out in heaven.
When Mother received Daddy’s gift on Christmas morning, she opened it, washed it, and put it to use that very day serving the family. When we receive Jesus as Savior, we are washed clean and made new for His service that very day.
Be encouraged to celebrate Christmas this year by remembering why there is a Christmas. Jesus is the reason for the celebration. His gift of eternal life is the good news of great joy for all people. Pray for those who do not know Him or the reason we celebrate.
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:15 HCSB)