Christmas Grace

I kept meaning to post this last week, but I failed.  My apologies.  This is my latest article for the column (Gleanings in Grace) I write for my school newspaper.

Christmas time is coming! Everybody loves Christmas. Why? I can sum it up in one word – presents.

Christmas is a birthday; why not celebrate by giving gifts? However, we often wonder if this makes us lose sight of the real “reason for the season.” To solve this problem, some have suggested that we need to give gifts to Jesus. What have you done for Jesus on His birthday?

However, if we recall our theme of grace – Christ giving to us what we do not deserve and doing for us what we could never do for ourselves – we must ask if this is the right idea. I think it would be best not to focus on what we can do for Jesus but rather on what He has done for us.

Acts 17:25 tells us that God is not in need of anything, yet need him. Our faith focuses not on what we do, but what God has done. John 3:16 reminds us about God’s gift – redemption in Jesus. Let’s make it a point to focus on Jesus this Christmas and praise Him for all He has done. And by the way, this gift to you was meant to be shared.

The bad thing about only having a 200 word limit is that I don’t always get to fully develop my thoughts.  After all, at heart I’m still a Baptist preacher.  I can hardly clear my throat in 200 words…  So, I did want to mention here that I do understand what people mean when they talk about giving gifts to Jesus.  I don’t necessarily think that is bad concept. In fact, it is a great idea.  As Christmas has become an excuse for materialism, it is wonderful to shift the focus on something as noble as praising the Lord.  Please don’t get the idea that I am against parents, families and churches who wish to do something for the Lord during this season.

However, reflecting on this theme of grace, I think it is better to talk about sharing Christ’s gift with others rather than giving our gifts to Him as if Jesus were the little orphan child with nothing in his Christmas stocking.  We serve a sovereign God who is worthy of our praise, attention and effort.  It is entirely appropriate for Christians to make a special effort during this holiday season to make Him known to others and praise His glorious name through acts of mercy and worship.

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