Last Friday night around 115 women ate a beautiful dinner together, we listened to an amazingly talented high school girl play the piano, and I spoke about Christmas.
To be honest it was a very unique experience because it was the first time I had spoken in this way.
I loved it.
I spent a lot of time beforehand praying that God would use my body, use my words, and that He would touch the hearts of the women sitting listening to me... It was interesting preparing for what I was going to talk about because the women ranged from 16-90, most attended our church, but not all of them, and I did not know the majority of them.. Although most of them know who I am.
When I was trying to come up with my topic I talked with my dad, -- My never ending supply of ideas and resources haha -- and we came up with a fantastic illustration using my brothers... another endless supply of funny stories.
My brothers have this pretty funny tradition for Christmas.. They make each others gift the most difficult thing to open ever, and they only using the tools included to open the gift. There are times that the gift takes almost an hour to open! One year (pictures included) there was this paper machete/plumbers glue thing that made the entire house smell disgusting.. Come to find out, once all was said and done and torn open, inside was gross dirty socks... All the while, there was a fake bottom with a beautifully wrapped nice gift. Had my little brother noticed the fake bottom he could have avoided opening the disgusting dirty socks...
When I talked to the ladies on Friday night, I explained this whole tradition, this particular experience, and the correlation it has to Christmas, Christ, and Christianity as a whole.
We take a beautiful gift, and tell others "this is Christ, this is Christmas.. open the gift".. and once they do, they find this gross, disgusting, smelly... 'gift' full of dirty socks.
Who would want that 'gift'?!
Truly, Christmas is about this beautiful baby that was sent to us as a gift.. and, it is as simple as that. This baby, that was small, cute, and smelled like a baby, was sent to us to die because God loves us. Yet, somehow, we turn this gift into dirty socks when presenting it to others. We make Christmas, Christ, and Christianity into this gross thing it was never meant to be.
This beautiful baby came to love us, to die for us, and right away this fact was made clear when Myrrh was given as one of the first gifts to this baby.. You see, Myrrh is used in burials. So, this beautiful baby, who we celebrate on Christmas was born to die from the beginning.
He did not come for who you SHOULD be, but because He loves who you are, and wants to meet you exactly where you are.
He wants to save you because He loves you right now.
It is literally that simple, and yet we make it all into this thing that it is not. We stress ourselves out during Christmas, get impatient standing in line for presents people do not actually need, we spend money we don't need to, and head to parties we feel obligated to go to because we make Christmas this thing it was never meant to be. It was meant to be a celebration of this beautiful baby who loves you...
He. Loves. You. -- As you are, right now; that is the beautiful gift.
This baby; Christ, He makes Christmas and Christianity simple. Let it stay that way.