Some of you may remember playing a game called, “pass the parcel”. A large gift that was passed around the circle and when the music stoped the person who held it took off one of the layers of wrapping, they had to read the note that was revealed on the wrapping and do what it said, and in most cases, it was a little embarrassing, this proceeded until someone unwrapped the last part that revealed the prize.
Our Christmas celebrations can be a little like that. Many of us have dreams of what Christmas should be like however, is it just the wrappings that we are focusing on. I wonder if anyone has wrapped a box in the finest wrapping but inside, the box was empty. That might be a joke we played on someone but maybe not a very nice joke if the person was expecting a real gift. Nevertheless, what would be interesting is if a young man gave a very large gift to his girlfriend that had so much wrapping that when taken off revealed only a small box, and the small box enclosed an engagement ring. That I would like to see.
The beauty of Christmas as attractive as it is, is not in the wrapping. The glory of Christmas is not in the lights as illuminating as they maybe. The heart of Christmas is not in the feast as appealing as it is. Yes, we can enjoy these and many other aspects of Christmas but fail to experience the true depth of Christmas. Even as Christians we can lose sight of the heart of Christmas because we are just playing around with the wrappings of Christmas.
Christmas is a beautiful gift, not the ones under the tree but the gift that was laid in the manger over two thousand years ago. It is the gift of life, the gift of hope, the gift of joy, the gift of Jesus coming into the world. It is life in its fullness, As Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV
As we consider Christmas this year, this gift of Emmanuel, God with us. It is the gift of life, eternal life, A life that is far beyond the idea of living for ever, for it is a quality of life that is, at its core about a relationship with the one who created us, who knows us better than we know ourselves, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent,” * (John 17:3 NIV)
As I think about this, it is not a gift to be kept to ourselves, it is to be shared and lived out. Jesus has profoundly touched our lives in so many ways, therefore how can we touch the lives of those around us this Christmas? Maybe it can be in the giving of small gifts, or in spending time with somebody that would be blessed by our presence, or maybe it is the invite to our Christmas table, somebody who would be blessed by joining in with our celebrations. Is there someone who is alone and in need of company.
Maybe we need to take our eyes off the wrappings of Christmas and look around. It is often in the sharing that we gain insights beyond the wrappings of Christmas, to the heart of Christmas.
May this season of celebration be a special time for you as you share Jesus in more than words but in actions of simple acts of love.
Together may we be a blessing this Christmas.
Rev. Rex E Rigby