There will be many disappointed people this Christmas as they look through the gifts and not find what they were expecting. Countless children will have nothing to open because their parents are poor.
Obviously Christmas is not about what’s under the tree or who comes to visit or how much money is in the bank. Christmas is about Jesus Christ. Unless He is in our heart, nothing else makes sense. When the Lord is the center of our life, we really don’t place so much importance on who gives us what because He is the greatest gift we can receive. Takes a lot of spiritual maturity—the majority of us do not arrive until after years. Life is the best teacher. Christmas after Christmas we come to realize that there’s got to be more than bows and flows, the lights, the glitter—there’s got to be more. Way back in a Galilee far, far away there were no bows, no decorations, no comforts. From the start Jesus chose to identify Himself with the poor. Not just the poor, but the rejected by society. Shepherds were at the bottom of the social class. Nobody liked them, not even other shepherds. Yet, they are some of the first to receive the news about the Child destined to liberate people from their sins. What the angel said to them probably did not make sense until years later. They went on a journey of faith—to look for the infant lying in a manger. We are all on a similar journey of faith. Whether we find the Lord present in a poor infant or an adult—the message is the same—He has come to set us free.
Lots of folks argue that they are already free, especially since we live in the United States of America—“land of the free”. Think again, we can’t say that we are free when we are weighed down with worries—worries about finances, about the children, our health. And we are certainly not free if we are trapped by addictive behavior—whatever the addiction is—drugs, alcohol, work. Many families are victims to addictive behavior. As a result, many are divided, not speaking to each other, stuck in past resentments. True freedom comes from letting go of the past that can never be undone. One of the greatest gifts is forgiveness.
We do not need much perception to notice that families are in danger of becoming extinct. The family is the target of diabolical powers. 99.9% of the media, the videos, the movies are aimed at the destruction of the family. One of the greatest illusions is that money will bring happiness. Consider Joseph, Mary and Jesus—how they lived—the place where Jesus was born. They had little or nothing by way of possessions. Yet, we can say that they were happy. Fact is that they are an example of true happiness. Joseph and Mary took responsibility for their Baby. Many parents do not. Why have children for someone else to raise them? Parents need to take responsibility—to monitor what the children are watching—the games to which they are exposed—where they are. An old TV announcement use to say, “It’s 10 o’clock at night, do you know where your children are?” Sad that some parents don’t know, and worse, some don’t care. Who children are now determines who they will become. Not an accident that Jesus came as a child. He could have come as a full grown man and saved Himself the burden of adolescence, the measles, the flu. Jesus chose to identify with us in all things except sin. He gave us a road map for true happiness. Jesus performed countless miracles, but lived a simple life, among ordinary people. Every day problems—common situations—spoke to anyone willing to listen. Today we celebrate the birth of a Baby only because we know what He grew up to be—our Savior.
His saving act was not just once upon a time on the cross. He continues to save us from ourselves—from our fears—our sins. We open our hearts to receive all the love that Jesus wants to give us.