During the month of December, the radio in our car is regularly dialed in to a Christmas music station. My girls squeal with delight when songs about Rudolph and jingle bells begin to play. To the detriment of everyone around me, I always sing along with the radio, pretending to know most of the words.
There is one particularly catchy tune that I find fun to sing. The main character is a fairly sassy lady as she pleads her case for Santa to bring her all the best gifts:
- “I’ve been an awful good girl.”
- “Think of all the fun I’ve missed; think of all the fellas that I haven’t kissed.”
- “Next year I could be just as good… if you check of my Christmas list.”
I’d say she’s earned those decorations from Tiffany’s, what about you?
And of course, we always sing along to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. It’s a classic! It reminds us to be on our absolute best behavior because Santa is on his way with lots of goodies to be enjoyed.
Too often, that seems to be the focus around Christmas. Our gifts are earned through model behavior and making the “nice” list. Get on the “naughty” list and we should not be surprised to see a handful of coal in our stocking.
But aren’t gifts designed to be an expression of our love? When they come with strings wound tightly around them, they seem to be a little less enjoyable.
What if…what if each person could receive a gift without strings? A gift that communicated a love beyond our performance or good deeds. A gift that was not earned, but given to the nice and naughty alike.
There are songs about a gift like this too. They speak of a silent night years ago. That magical night when, a little baby boy lay asleep on the hay because there was no room in the inn.
It was on that night that God, the King and Creator of the universe, humbled himself and was born into the world as a helpless babe. The angels sang and a few shepherds gathered with their flocks to welcome this Child into the world.
He came without the flare and celebrations any ordinary king would have expected. He came quietly with one purpose in mind: to give the people of His creation the ultimate gift. The gift of His presence.
Being fully human, yet fully God, He would live a perfect life on earth so that we wouldn’t have to. He would give His body as the ultimate sacrifice; wiping our slates clean and making us white as snow.
All of this He would do, no strings attached, so that we might one day spend eternity with Him. We simply have to open our hands to receive it.
“He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone…” (1 Timothy 2:6; NLT. Emphasis mine)
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8; NIV. Emphasis mine)