I’m about to admit something that might make you think less of me than you did a minute ago: I LOVE getting presents! There. I said it. I still get excited for every gift-giving-receiving occasion to come around. What’s in the present doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fact that someone spent the thought to remember me and the effort to do something about it. The anticipation of of the coming gift and wondering what it is still has a hold on this middle-aged woman. At the risk of sounding immature, selfish or self-centered, truth is… Big or little, I heart opening gifts.
Gifting has always been a favorite part of Christmas celebrations. It’s the initial way that we teach our children about God’s gift to us in the life and death of Jesus Christ. But somewhere along the way, if we aren’t very very careful, we trip into the trap of thinking that Christmas gifting is about us and for us. It’s not.
As my friend, Amy, posted on her FaceBook wall the other day:
“It’s NOT your birthday!”
Nope, it’s not. Christmas isn’t really about us getting or giving anything that can be wrapped or unwrapped. It’s not about us at all. It’s about God’s most costly gift – the lifeblood of His Son… and it’s about Jesus’ leaving Heaven’s throne to live among us so that you and I can be redeemed. Sometimes I tend to forget that.
Christmas-time is not the world’s celebration of my birthday. It’s not the world’s celebration of your birthday (even if you happen to be born on the 25th) either. So… why do we get so caught up in the gifting, receiving, wrapping, unwrapping, budgeting, going over said budget? I truly think it’s because we’ve forgotten exactly WHO’s birthday it is.
A little helpful hint that has worked for me:
As you head into these days of gatherings and giftings and last-minute WalMart runs, and when the drama and frustration levels begin to rise, keep asking yourself one thing: Whose Birthday is it, anyway? Then answer your own self with: It’s NOT MY birthday! (This is also a good word in response to our children’s greed/complaints during this season.)
As a present-lover, this self-question and answer moment helps me set my mind and eyes on what matters most, and helps me sift through all of the other trappings and wrappings to zero in on the real birthday we celebrate: Jesus Christ!
Christmas is NOT my birthday! It’s NOT my children’s birthdays! And it really has nothing at all to do with the gifts I’ve purchased and wrapped that now sit under the tree. These gifts are only a simple reminder of the love, dedication, and sacrifice of God’s gift to us in Jesus. If we can keep Jesus as the main focus of the days ahead, we will trade the stress for His Peace and Rest.
“ For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.” John 3:16 (Amp)
Happy Birthday, Jesus!