I shopped for Christmas presents for 12 hours on Monday — first with the kids and then with Lauri. I enjoy shopping for Christmas gifts, I really do, but 12 hours… yeah… that was a bit brutal, I will admit. I just have been so busy the last few weeks, that last Monday was my first opportunity to get out and get after it. I still have a bit of shopping to go too.
So I went from store to store, “Alyssa will like this, I think… Lauri would look so nice wearing that… Connor will enjoy this so much” — then there are gifts for extended family as well. I might be guilty of slowly walking by a gift card display 3 or 4 times for the ultimate guy “cop-out” gift. Who wouldn’t want a free meal at Red Lobster, anyway? Love me some crab legs.
Of course we all understand that Christmas isn’t about the giving of gifts… yeah… we get that. In the words of the famous Grinch Who Stole Christmas after he realized Christmas had come after all: “And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” (Dr. Seuss, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas)
The first Christmas arrived on an ordinary night in a little town in a simple stable. Had there been no angels there would have been no fan-fare. Had there been no shepherds, there would have been no worshippers; and had there been no Magi, there would have been no gifts, but those realities don’t take away from the wonder of the miracle, do they?
And of course, Christmas “means a little bit more…” the birth of Jesus was God launching His plan to redeem His creation. Paul wrote, “I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people.” Colossians 1:25-26 NIV
Disclosed to the Lord’s people in the person of Jesus. The beautiful gift found in a manger by kind but bewildered shepherds. The gift seen by wondering Magi who had followed His star to His resting place. The gift heralded by angels who were without doubt privy to God’s plan to redeem Humanity, but possibly amazed at the way that He would do it.
So, as I shop for gifts, wrap gifts and give gifts, I pray that each of those moments will remind me of the Greatest Gift Ever Given in Jesus. Lord, help me not to lose the wonder of the joyful meaning of Christmas. It’s truly not about ribbons, tags, packages, boxes or bags… it means a whole lot more!