I’m not fond of secrets.
Christmastime makes it really difficult for me to keep secrets. When I was a child, the suspense of not knowing what was in the packages with my name on them was torturous. Because of that torture, more times than not I surreptitiously lifted the cellophane tape off one end of my brightly colored presents and peeked inside.
After years of practice, I became an expert at unwrapping the package without damaging the paper, sneaking a peek, replacing the tape, and acting surprised on Christmas morning.
When I clandestinely unwrapped my Christmas presents, if there was a toy inside, whoopee! If there was a necessary sweater, or more knee socks, well…
As an adult, I have the same problem. Only in reverse. I get so excited about what I’ve bought Pilot. I can’t wait for him to open it. To help him figure out the gift, I give him hints. Sometimes, he won’t play along.
When I think about it, I wonder if God felt the same excitement and anticipation I feel at Christmas when he prepared to send his gift of love to our broken world. All through the Bible God gives us hints as to what was to come. Sometimes we ignore his clues and won’t play along, but that doesn’t take away the gift.
God’s prophets spoke of a Messiah. Shepherd. Cornerstone. One from the house of Jesse. One from the line of David whose kingdom would never end. A savior. Immanuel. God with us. Those words hold joy and excitement.
Unlike the words in Isaiah 53:5. Words like pierced, crushed, punishment, wounds. That’s when I understand the joyful gift of a baby in the manger became the necessary gift of a sacrifice for our salvation.
And I cry.
Next to the manger scene I set up each December hangs a cross and a crown of thorns. Lest I get caught up in the presents, the baking, the decorations, and the carols, I need a reminder in front of me. Christmas is about much more than a baby, gifts, and family. Christmas is about the cross. It’s about the sacrifice, the suffering, and the Savior who died and rose again so we might live.
Don’t get me wrong, I still get excited about the gifts under the tree. But it’s the gift that hung on a tree, that really matters.
What do you believe?
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (GNT)
I wish you well,
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One of my devotions will be posted on Christian Devotions December 30, 2013. Please stop by and check out the site.