Christmastime makes it really difficult for me to keep secrets. When I was a child the suspense of not knowing what was in the packages with my name on them was torturous. Because of that torture, more times than not I surreptitiously lifted the cellophane tape off one end of my brightly colored presents. After years of practice, I became an expert at unwrapping the package without damaging the paper, sneaking a peek, replacing the tape, and acting surprised on Christmas morning.
When I clandestinely unwrapped my Christmas presents, if there was a toy inside, whoopee. If there was a necessary sweater, or more knee socks, well …
As an adult I have the same problem. Only in reverse. I get so excited about what I’ve bought my husband, I can’t wait for him to open what is under the tree. To help him figure it out I give him hints. Sometimes, he won’t play along.
When I think about it, I wonder if God felt the same excitement and anticipation I feel at Christmas when He prepared to send His gift of love to our broken world. All through the Bible God gives us hints as to what was to come. Sometimes we ignore His clues and won’t play along, but that doesn’t take away the gift.
God’s prophets spoke of a Messiah. Shepherd. Cornerstone. One from the house of Jesse. One from the line of David whose kingdom would never end. A Savior. Immanuel. God with us. Those words hold joy and excitement.
Unlike the words in Isaiah … words like pierced, crushed, punishment, wounds. That’s when I understand the joyful gift of a baby in the manger became the necessary gift of a sacrifice for our salvation.
And I cry.
Next to the manger scene I set up each December hangs a cross and a crown of thorns. Lest I get caught up in the presents, the baking, the decorations, and the carols I need a reminder in front of me. Christmas is about much more than a baby, gifts, and family.
Christmas is about the Cross. It’s about the sacrifice, the suffering, and the Savior who died so we might live.
Don’t get me wrong, I still get excited about the gifts under the tree. But it’s the gift that hung on a tree that really matters.
This Christmas how about we take time to remember Easter as well.
How do you remember Christ’s sacrifice at Christmastime?
I wish you well.