So why bother? Probably for any number of reasons… none of which is more important than giving out of a heart that is once again being warmed by the true meaning of the Christmas story.
The Gifts of the King
Continued from Christmas Morning and Evening
For 3 days the king’s family and friends were afraid and confused. Then on the first day of a new week, several of them found his grave empty. Within a few hours one of the women reported seeing him alive and well in the garden where he had been buried.
For the next 40 days the king appeared, and then reappeared, so repeatedly and convincingly that the same friends who had run for their lives at his arrest showed a willingness to die for their report that he was alive.
Now, the whole story could be told. To share his immortality and happiness, the king of creation had used his infinite power and eternal love to buy the perfect gift for anyone who would trust him. At his own expense, the price of which was understood only by himself, he bought us gifts infinitely and eternally greater than all of the gold, frankincense, and myrrh given to him at his birth.
Then in a final meeting, on a hill overlooking the city that had rejected him, the king told his friends to wait until he sent them an invisible companion who would remain with them until his return. In his temporary absence, this unseen presence would give them everything they needed to tell everyone who would listen where to find the gifts the king had bought and hidden…
The king’s secret was that the most perfect of all gifts was waiting for the asking at the foot of a barren tree, so ugly, and so empty, no one would naturally think to look there… unless they were told.
Then he left them with one more final act of inexpressible wonder…
The Gospel writer John later retold the king’s story saying, “In the beginning was the Word… and the Word was God… and the Word was made flesh and lived among us… and we saw his glory full of grace and truth… and of his fullness we have all received… for the law came through Moses… but grace and truth came through Jesus, the Messiah King” (John 1:1-17).
I’m thinking that there is something about the contrast between law and grace (that according to John is at the heart of God’s gift) that could help us deal with the coolness, the relational distance, the self-protection, and the disillusionment that so often comes between us.
If grace is defined as the gift of God’s undeserved favor and help, let’s see if we can explore together what the Apostle John meant when he wrote, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
How would you describe the contrast between the law of Moses and the real, life-changing “Christmas” gifts of grace and truth?