It’s 8:25 a.m. at my home in Texas, and by now families with children have been up a couple hours doing “Christmas.” The room where they gathered is trashed with torn paper wrappings, boxes, ribbons and bows. Everyone’s smiling or frowning based on the joy or disappointment of a gift given or received, pre-determined by their expectations of what Christmas would be for them this year. What I cherish today are the memories of Christmases past, where everyone in my family received something that brought genuine joy resulting in smiles and laughter. Today I sat looking at the fire, and remembered fondly all those happy times. In some ways I’m a very rich man, because I can still remember these things, and smile at myself for having been a part of it all.
The greatest treasure is knowing God is not finished with me yet. I’m making new memories now. The road is not less difficult or challenging, as anyone who has adult children also knows. It’s just different, that’s all. Things change. People change. Circumstances change. But one thing never changes. God’s love, demonstrated in such a tangible way, with the baby in a manger, who became the man on a cross. God announced to the universe His great love for all mankind. And God is not finished with me, or us, yet.
When is Christmas really over? When the presents are all unwrapped? When the tree comes down, the decorations are stored, and the house is back to “normal?” When the returns are made, and you’ve gotten for yourself what you wished for?
For me, Christmas is never really over. I’m not one of those weirdos’ who keeps decorations and trees up year round, that’s not what I mean. I mean, I’m only too aware that Immanuel means “God with us.” I get that when I stepped over the line of faith into Jesus and His grace, the greatest gift to mankind ever offered was mine to enjoy forever. In that moment the Holy Spirit of God came to abide in me, to set up a permanent dwelling in my heart and mind. And here’s the thing…
The Grace given at Christmas when this child was born, is the same grace God expects me to dish out lavishly on the people I meet on this grand adventure called life. Each and every time I answer insults with a kind word, receive each anger charged look and return it with a smile, or give a cup of coffee expecting nothing in return, I’m living out the expectation of God for me. Grace giver.
I may be the only form of Jesus some people ever see, and if this is true, what do they see?
Today, I cherish the idea that Christ did it all for me. Those who know me, know I don’t deserve this great gift. But the love God has for me personally, is the greatest gift I’ve ever received, one I will always treasure. I want to share it with the world; with anyone who will read or listen, that’s what this blog is really all about.
Join me in the process if you agree with me. Share this blog on your FaceBook, send it in an email, or just share the love of God with someone today. Be a grace giver.