Christmas is right around the corner! It’s a time of joy, love, peace and… awkward self-consciousness.
There’s nothing quite like sitting with family, opening a gift from your great aunt “Marg,” who you haven’t seen in a decade, but happened to be visiting for the holidays. The suspense rises as the wrapping paper falls. All eyes are on you. You open the box and discover the gift inside. A shirt. Crud. In an instant you know that the shirt would have been better suited for someone else… Maybe a blind Hobbit that’s stuck in time.
You glance at your sibling who, with a gleam in the eyes immediately pounces on the moment. “That’s soooo nice of you Aunt Marge! Try it on! Try it on!” From the depths of your gut, your soul utters, “Oh please, no,” as the runway is cleared as the rest of the family joins the chant. You have no choice. It must go on.
The shirt alone looks like the failed byproduct of designer wannabes and now you have to pull it over the shirt that you’re already wearing. That will be flattering. You finally get the shirt on and the buttons are hanging on for dear life. The waist of the shirt feels like a push-up bra for your gut. Any motion, either forward, backward or side-to-side, could compromise the situation… all this before Christmas dinner.
You stand in front of your family, feeling like the poster child for self-loathing and take one more chip out of your integrity by saying, “Thank you, aunt Marg,” then take your seat, where you close your eyes and pray to become invisible.
Let’s face it- some gifts just aren’t right for us. Jesus is.
I can’t think of a more powerful way for God to say, “I love you,” than by giving us His son. As a gift, Jesus is hope for the hopeless, a light to the darkness and that which makes whole what is broken. He fits our lives perfectly.
This season, as we stand before God with Christ as our gift, may we take seriously how we should respond to the Giver and say, “Thank you,” with integrity.