Friday, December 25, 2009

What's Christmas All About, Anyway?

by Ruth Bell Graham

This is the Christmas season--a time for giving and receiving gifts. And for weeks now you have probably been working on your gift list and shopping, shopping, shopping.

But in this final rush before Christmas perhaps you don't care anymore. Perhaps love is dead. Or your children are beyond your influence. Or you have no children.

Perhaps something has happened, and now you find no joy or meaning to your life anymore. Perhaps the most you look for is some temporary form of escape. Maybe you can't give anything. There's nothing left to give. Or there's no one left to give to.

Listen! What's Christmas all about anyway? Wasn't there a death, an emptiness, a need? Wasn't there a Love somewhere--infinite, eternal, unchangeable--a Love that gave His only Son away?

That's what Christmas is all about: God coming to earth in the Person of the Christ Child to do for you and for me what we cannot possibly do for ourselves.

Jesus lived among us and had the same kinds of problems that we do. You haven't a problem--and I haven't a problem--that He doesn't understand from close personal experience. He spent His entire life meeting human needs. He died on the cross to deal once and for all with our greatest need--the sin problem.

Just before ascending to heaven, the risen Christ gave this glorious promise: "I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20). That's what Christmas is all about.

While Jesus was here on earth, He invited people to come to Him: tired people, bad people, good people, bewildered people, laborers, revolutionaries, cheats, bigots ... it is the Invitation of the Ages.

Just as people went to Jesus 2,000 years ago, today we still come to Jesus that same way: just as we are. Our only credentials: our need.

This Christmas, God is asking you to come to Him. You with your failures, your sins, your problems, your fears. You. This is Christmas. Redemption's glorious exchange of gifts!

God is loving, searching, giving Himself-- to us. People are needing, finding, giving ourselves to God. This is the meaning of Christmas. This is the wonder and the glory of it all.

You can come to God this Christmas, or anytime, by praying a simple prayer like this:

Dear God, I confess to You the emptiness in my heart, the selfishness of my thoughts, the fear in my spirit, and the sinfulness in my life. I'm so sorry. I know it was for me--and because of me--that Jesus died. Please forgive me of all my sins. Thank You for Jesus, who accepts me as I am. I come to You now, ready to spend eternity in heaven with You. Thank You for giving me Jesus! Amen

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