Some people say Christmas is not about the presents. But I tend to disagree.
Lots of us get caught up in the material presents, you know, the shiny kind—like the doll I wrapped in sparkly paper for my daughter this year. Or monetary presents (cash is always a big hit with my teen nieces and nephews). And of course let’s not forget those white elephant presents, which are really just a chance to re-gift the coconut lamp you got in last year’s gag exchange. Yes, those presents are one way to look at Christmas.
But I’m talking about another—the greatest gift of all time.
It’s the gift of Jesus himself.
“But when the right time came, God sent his Son into the world. A woman gave birth to him, and he came under the control of the laws given to Moses. God sent him to pay for the freedom of those who were controlled by these laws so that we would be adopted as his children” (Galatian 4:4–5, GW).
Christmas is about a baby who became a King. It’s about God’s redemptive plan since the beginning of time. It’s about our relationship to Him and His wonderfully absurd love for us, His undeserving children.
I am so grateful for this gift. Aren’t you?
So in our family, like yours, we may not make Christmas all about the material presents. But we do make the material presents all about Christmas. We teach our kids that gifts are an outward expression of our love for Jesus. And loving one another is a gift we give to Him.
It is His birthday, after all. He deserves the spotlight. And the presents. And the birthday cake—which we eat for breakfast on Christmas morning (highly recommend).
So to put all this gift-giving into perspective, my family began a tradition. Every year, in the midst of all the shopping and to-do lists and holiday season madness, we each give a special gift back to Jesus. On Christmas Eve we write that gift on a slip of paper and tuck it in our stockings. Then on Christmas morning, after the boxes are unwrapped and the living room floor is covered in a sea of crumpled paper, we reach inside our stockings and read our chosen gifts.
It’s the best moment of the day.
Last year, I gave Jesus my book—its success or failure, its reach and impact for the kingdom. Let His will be done.
My husband gave Him his career, which was undergoing a huge transition at the time.
Our five-year-old, bless her—she gave Jesus her thumb. As in, her die-hard thumb-sucking habit that we had been trying (and failing) to break for the past three years. I admit I was surprised and skeptical to see “my thumb” scrawled on her little square note, but wouldn’t you know it? This past year she quit sucking her thumb cold turkey and never looked back. Her gift to Jesus worked.
So while it’s easy this time of year to stress out over the commercialized American Christmas, let’s not make gifts the villain. Because in many ways, Christmas is about the gifts—the gift of Jesus to us, and the gift of ourselves back to Him.
What will you give Him this year?