Today we celebrate Christmas. (Finally!)
Christmas is, according to Andy Williams, the most wonderful time of the year and the happiest season of all. Whether or not we agree with this idea, Christmas has always been celebrated during holiday season at the end of the year. It is the moment of reunion, rejuvenation, and reflection as we prepare our hearts to go into the new year.
Again and again, every year, we hear this classical question: “What is Christmas all about?”
To cope with this, I wrote some of my thoughts on Christmas two and three years ago. (Time flies!)
In essence, Christmas is about Christ! The literal meaning of Christmas is Christ’s Mass, referring to people from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds who observe the annual Christian feast commemorating the birth of Jesus. In this sense, Christmas has been shown to bring unity in diversity. Without Jesus Christ, Christmas would not have existed.
Now, we might have enjoyed Christmas with all the gifts, feasts and celebrations, foods and companies. But if Jesus is the “main actor” of Christmas, another important question we may ask ourselves is “What do we give to Jesus this Christmas?”
Over two thousand years ago, reputable foreigners (called the Wise Men, perhaps they are kings) visited Jesus after His birth. They traveled from the east (i.e., modern day Asia, perhaps Arabia, Persia, or India) and brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, which convey spiritual meaning. Gold (virtue), frankincense (prayer), and myrrh (suffering) are respectively attributed to the royalty (kingship), deity (godliness), and humanity (death) of Christ.
Our gifts might not be significant to Jesus because He has everything. Heaven and earth are His (1 Chronicles 29:11) and after all, how can a man give something to God? How can the created being offer something to the Creator?
Nevertheless, if we are still to give something, what would be the best of all we can give to Him? What does God deserve from us? Isn’t it everything we have and everything we are? Everything means all, including time, energy, money, failures, victories, past, present, future, sin, shame, honor, praise, glory, so on and so forth you can name it.
Remember Paul’s encouragement to the early church as follows:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2, NIV)
A true and proper worship (dedication) is offering our bodies to be the instruments of God’s glory. To know God’s will, we must not imitate this world (i.e., the worldly values and desires) and our minds need to be transformed and renewed by His Word. In other words, we are to present our lives to God by being born again. It is not about physical, but spiritual deliverance—it is the touch of God’s love through Christ which we all need in life to have new purpose and identity for His kingdom.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT)
In conclusion, the best gift we can offer to Jesus this Christmas is our own lives! It is our total submission to Him, declaring His lordship in everything we do, just as David said:
Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. (Psalm 37:5, NLT)
Isn’t it wonderful that the gift we give to Jesus is actually the gift from God to us?
Nanaimo, December 25, 2019