This Christmas, don’t just give…

Posted: December 22, 2011 in Christmas, Evangelism, Holidays, love, Me and God, Me and people, Parenting, Santa, The Bible, The Church

A few weeks ago I was talking to someone who had a lot of questions about Christianity and he asked me: “If God knew we would fall, why did He create us in the first place? It was a great question to which my answer was: “because He wanted us to love Him back”. See? I could command my kids to greet me upon entering the door with a big smile and warm and heartfelt “daddy is home!” and threaten them that if they don’t, I will discipline them. However, the beauty and ‘pricelessness’ (yes, new word) of this act of expression of love from them is that I don’t have to ask them; they do it every time I come home –from their own free will and love for me. That’s how a regular human father would do it; love not coerced but freely offered. How much more our heavenly father who is truly sovereign, powerful and loving?

However, true love cannot happen if a choice to obey or disobey is not available and equally doable.
Time and time again we read of God calling people to turn to him, to respond to his call, to humble themselves, to repent and to put their faith in Him, because that is the very only way to be saved; no one person can earn their salvation through works. It is only through faith by His grace.
Time and time again we read of some who humbly respond to that call from God;
Time and time again we read of others who choose not to respond to God’s call.
Time and time again we read of God desiring everyone to be saved, but never forcing anyone into that salvation he so heartily desires, but so sovereignly respects.

We all have disobeyed, do disobey, and will disobey God’s protective rules and laws (Rom 3:23). Still, He chose , before the foundation of this world (Ephesians 1:4), to graciously forgive us by taking upon himself the penalty of our disobedience (Isaiah 53) so that we can, in return, out of thanksgiving, chose to obey Him –to freely and willingly love Him. This act of taking upon himself the penalty of our sin started in a sense, when Jesus was born some two thousand years in the Middle East. That is what Christmas is all about; love taking a human body to consummate forgiveness for us, so that we can love back. (John 3:1-17)

So, how can I make this Christmas more tangibly a celebration of Jesus birth?

– This Christmas I am proposing not to just give gifts to my kids, but to forgive them when they disobey my rules, or take their punishment on their behalf, not to yell at them or ‘unload my justice’ when they act out.

– This Christmas I am proposing not to just give gifts to my wife but to forgive her when she doesn’t meet my unrealistic expectations, responds in a way I don’t like or doesn’t do things the way I want (not that it ever happens because my wife is perfect but, just for the sake of argument)

– This Christmas I am proposing not to just give gifts to strangers as a ‘good deed’ but to forgive strangers who cut me off while driving.

– This Christmas I am proposing not to just give “Merry Christmas” to people at the grocery store but to forgive those who bring 50 items to the express lane cashier or take my parking space.

– This Christmas I am proposing not to just give one-time shoeboxes to the orphans but to forgive their troubling and dangerous past and help them to have a chance to have a family.

– This Christmas I am proposing not to just give beautiful words of appreciation to the church leaders but to forgive when they don’t do things the way I think they should be done.

– This Christmas I am proposing not to just give Christmas cards to friends but to forgive their shortcomings by not making them the doormat in which I step upon to make my righteousness validated.

– This Christmas I am proposing not to just give a mouthful of my opinions to those who disagree with my beliefs but to forgive and give grace as I have been given grace.

– This Christmas I am proposing not to just give gifts to myself but to forgive my mistakes, sins and failures in the past since God already forgave me.

I may not always be able to take upon myself the due penalty of other’s mistakes as Jesus did –which is the ultimate forgiveness. Nevertheless, I wonder if just by forgiving little and big offenses, right there and then, if I may be able to show to others in a practical way, what Christmas is all about: free will to love -which we may agree, is a synonym of free will to chose to forgive. As someone said: “We are never more like God than when we forgive“. This Christmas, I wont just give, I will forgive.

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:35

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

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Comments
  1. Adam says:

    Amen! THanks for sharing!

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