The Husband works for an incredible organization, Pinnacle Bank, that allows him the freedom to send his Christmas reflection to all 750 bank employees each year. It is a special gift that he does not take lightly. I look forward each year to reading what he has written. This letter really pierced my heart. Here is this year's letter sent the week before Christmas! Read it and you'll see why I love this man so much.
Christmas Blessing 2013
As we once again approach that joyful time of the year, Christmas, I want to challenge and encourage us to contemplate two aspects of this most extraordinary day in the history of the world. First, I challenge you to really ponder why and how we celebrate Christmas and the indescribable joy which it should represent to us , and secondly, something upon which we rarely focus in our celebration – the three Wise Men and what they should represent to us.
With regards to this particular day, to me unquestionably Christmas is the most important day in the history of the world and reflects the greatest news ever given to mankind. The baby’s birth in the manger was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy: Isaiah 9:6 – “ For us a child is born, to us a Son is given. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace “and to the shepherds in the field an angel proclaimed in Luke 2:9: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you, He is Christ the Lord. “ Through this day, there are several poignant messages given which we should recognize and claim. First and most importantly – God loves you. This love He has for you encapsulates His nature, for in His very essence God is love. Secondly, God is with you: Jesus is actually named “Emmanuel” which means “God with us." Thirdly, God is for you – He wants you to succeed in the things that are truly important. He desires a vibrant relationship with you – If not, why would He have sent His Son to be with us except to relate with us – not to judge the world but instead to love it and save it.
Let’s not forget the Prodigal Son story in which the father runs out to greet the returning wayward son who had previously abandoned his family. THAT is the story of Christmas. It is the Father who runs to greet us in the form of a babe. The Bible clearly states that we were all destined for eternal death in sin but God did not turn His head on us, but instead sent His Son to be with us and ultimately to be the vehicle through whom we can be reunited with Him forever. Is there anything of greater value to be celebrated? Life is tough – in fact very tough. Our lives resonate with poor choices; friends disappointing us; family trials; divorce; business failures; debilitating health conditions; deep suffering, separation, and even death. At some point some or all of these are a part of each of our lives. HOWEVER, Christmas is that good news of great joy which is for everyone who chooses to accept the gift, such that we have something of God's own eternal nature coupled with the power of a heartfelt joy which can supersede and even conquer the temporary circumstances which cause us great unhappiness and anxiety. Through our Lord we now have access to that peace which surpasses all understanding.
You see, a major part of the “Good News” of Christmas is that YOU matter to God. He knows everything about us – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and He still loves us. We are not an accident – He has a plan and purpose of life for each of us. Christmas is God’s chosen time. It is not about religion, for Jesus did not come to bring us a religion, but instead He came to bring us a relationship – the opportunity to know Him; love Him; accept Him as Lord; and be forever reunited with Him. God sent Jesus to us as the most extraordinary gift possible so we could know what He is like. God did not want us to love him from a distance but instead desired to love us up close.
Now as to the Wise Men, far too infrequently do we place any emphasis upon them and scrutinize exactly who they were and why they are important to us. The Wise Men were part of a totally different culture. They are fascinating people. Certainly in the manger, they looked out of place with their fancy clothes and gifts. The Bible refers to them as “Magi” – quite wealthy and highly educated – a combination of philosophers, scientists, and astronomers. They were also seekers of the truth. In Matthew 2:2 they ask: “Where is the baby who was born to be the King of the Jews?” They wanted to worship Him. They were willing to go to any length to find Jesus – to come from the Far East to the Middle East in Bethlehem to find Him – to embark on a four to five month (or possibly longer) journey across a scorching hot desert to find Him. All the major religious leaders of the world were basically right there in Jerusalem, only six miles from Bethlehem, but none of them were seeking Jesus.
Can you imagine what it must have been like when the Magi first saw the baby Jesus? He looked to be just another baby in a dirty manger, yet they knew immediately that He was the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. They experienced such depth of emotion that they stopped in awe and fell on their faces to worship Him. Also, remember what these Wise Men did next – they gave Him gifts as part of their worship – gifts representing their very best – gold; myrrh; and frankincense. They bowed down and gave Him their treasures.
So the question for you and me is: “What will we give Him?”
Will we give Him our trust? Will we give Him first place in our life so that nothing robs Him of that place? Will we look at those things which quite frankly represent idols disrupting our relationship with God? Will we give Him our Heart? In that most special place of our heart is what we love; what we most deeply value; those things about which we care the most. Will we share our love for Him with others? Will we be seekers of Truth like the Wise Men? And most importantly, as with the Wise Men, will we give Him our best – not simply our leftovers but instead our very best? Do you ever contemplate that just maybe God wants a present from us? Jesus said that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a pearl so valuable that one would sell everything and anything to obtain it.
So the difference in giving our present to God - our most valuable treasure – our Heart – we immediately get something back in return even more valuable – what a deal!! The best ever of which I have heard!! We are never to be separated from Him.
So this December 25th, I wish for you a most special and blessed Christmas – knowing how much God loves you; how He is with you regardless of present, past, or future circumstances; how in His omnipresence and omniscience He is always watching you and always for you. I pray that we all will give Him our very best and most precious treasure such that we will enjoy Him, not simply at Christmas, but for all eternity.