John 4:10 Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
Many of us are currently under pressure trying to get the right gifts for our loved ones, friends, and acquaintances in order to make them and us feel good at the same time. I see people with lists in the mall, weary with shopping and frantically checking off names, before hurrying to the next store. Drivers constantly cut in front of me, racing towards other stores to get the latest item, gadget, or toy before they inevitably sell out. I even feel some of this undue pressure on myself as I try to work out the best evening to set aside in order to put up the tree and some outside lights. Christmas is coming fast and we are all suffering from an artificial urgency, as well as a self-imposed slavery to the commercial necessities of a religious feast gone astray.
Jesus is the gift of God and we miss out on the life refreshing blessings that He has to offer us. When He was born in Bethlehem, Christ was wrapped up in simple rustic swaddling clothes and not over-priced designer wrapping paper. His birth was meant to bring peace into the world, as opposed to the unyielding pressure we annually experience. If we honestly knew Christ as the gift of God and did what He simply asks of us – to believe in Him as the Son of God and Savior of the World – then we would ask Him for an everlasting peace to descend into our self-panicked souls, as well as his immortal love to reside in our harassed hearts.
Christmas is about The Gift of God. Jesus is graciously given to us out of God’s wonderful love, so that we would not perish under a pile of presents, parties, and pressures, but thrive on being thankful for forgiveness, restoration, and everlasting life.
Question for personal reflection
Am I willing to let go of the unreality of Christmas commercialism and be embraced by the everlasting reality of Christ?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are God’s greatest gift to the world and we can be truly blessed by allowing Your Spirit to release us from the present pressures and lead us to the everlasting joy of Your peace. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on or ask a question about today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s image is called “Advent 2012” and features John’s four special Advent drawings for this year. Churches all over the world are using these images in their bulletins, worship services, and Christmas outreach campaigns. If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8197/8191609401_655228761a_b.jpg