Virtually everyone laments the hustle and bustle of the holidays, especially in regard to shopping and scheduling Christmas get-togethers with family and friends. The money is tight, our time is tighter, and yet our sense of obligation to these traditions is at its highest. It is no wonder that depression and suicides also reach their peak during the holidays. After all, the poor and the desperate feel the same pressure to participate that we do, and all too often, Christians only add fuel to the fire.
Rather than allowing the rush to cloud your joy in Christ, I want to challenge you this month to allow your joy to fuel your rush! What do I mean? Only this: You have been given the greatest gift known to man, the gospel. This gospel, as it was proclaimed to you and empowered by the Spirit, awakened your heart to believe and be saved from sin and eternal death. Your gift-giving is an opportunity to put the beautiful gift of Christ’s love on display. Seize the moment and bear witness to the gospel when you give. See the endless line of parties and dinners as a chance to reach out to lost loved ones that you do not see on a regular basis.
We live in a world that advertises joy during the holidays like a cheap perfume. It’s almost as if we are saying that all of these things and all of these people, should you be blessed enough to enjoy them, will bring ultimate fulfillment. Brothers and sisters, you and I know better. The joy that such things bring is fleeting and all too often ends in heartache and disappointment. Jimmy’s new bike gets stolen. Billy rips the head off Suzy’s new doll. Ralphie really does shoot his eye out! Well, almost anyway.
Isaiah the prophet teaches us that true joy and eternal peace are found in a baby. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end.”
Fast forward a few chapters, and you learn that this baby was born for the purpose of dying on the cross for our sins. “But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
Christian, if you want to offer someone true joy, hope, and peace this holiday season, give them the gift of the gospel. Jesus offers living waters, waters that will quench their thirst for lesser things with an everlasting satisfaction in Him alone.
Merry Christmas to you all! May God’s glory shine through you as you celebrate the birth of His Son, the Savior, Jesus.