Advent Day 21 – What’s on Your Christmas List?

 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

What Do You Want for Christmas? Jewelry? Clothes? Something for your house? (Maybe a Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle?J) Or you just might prefer the one-size-fits-all cash gift.  Sometimes our wishes are pretty big – my son wanted a LEGO® Star Wars Death Star (retail 499.99) – needless to say, he did not get it.  Some of us are satisfied with a bit less.  When I was a little girl, I just wanted paper and pencils – guess I’ve always been a writer at heart.

Or maybe your Christmas list is less tangible – something that can’t be wrapped up and put under the tree.  If you wrote it out it might say “peace” or “joy” or “hope” or “love.” Maybe your list includes “acceptance” or “freedom” or “rest.”  You and I know that we can’t buy those at the mall or order them online.  There’s only one place for these Christmas wishes.

To the one who asks for peace, Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you” (John 14:27).  Peace in our hearts only comes through Jesus Christ.  For the one who has lost their joy David wrote, “You will fill me with joy in Your presence” (Psalm 16:11).  Joy is found in Immanuel – the God who is with us.  If you need hope this Christmas, hear God’s words in Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  In the Lord’s hands we have hope – for this life and for all eternity.  Do you wish for love? “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God” (1 John 3:1).  Not just a little, not even a “bushel and a peck,’” but poured out on you lavishly, without measure and overflowing.  In fact, this same verse fills your desire for acceptance – God calls Himself your Father and He accepts you as His child.  If freedom tops your list you can find release – the Psalmist says “O Lord, truly I am your servant . . . You have freed me from my chains” (Psalm 116:16).  The blood of Jesus breaks the chains of this world.  Maybe you just want a little rest this Christmas.  Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).  Just sink back into His arms and let Him carry your burdens and you.

Whatever you long for this Christmas, you can find it in Jesus.  There is nothing on your list that He cannot provide. He is the greatest Gift of all and your heart’s deepest longing.  No, this gift isn’t jewelry, toys, or clothes wrapped in paper and ribbons sitting under your tree.  It is the peace, joy, hope, and love of God wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.


What Can You Give Jesus for Christmas?

Wise Men by George Spencer Watson (c) Rochdale Arts & Heritage Service; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Wise Men by George Spencer Watson (c) Rochdale Arts & Heritage Service; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

“They opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh,” (Matthew 2:11)

What kind of gift do you bring to a newborn King?  When the royals or celebrities have babies, gifts pour in from all around the world.  Lavish, expensive gifts like giant stuffed animals, beautiful baby clothes, and the very best in baby transportation.  Only the best will do for these little one of such high standing.  When the wise men came to visit Jesus, they brought gifts worthy of a first-century king – gold, incense and myrrh.  Many scholars believe there is significance in each of these gifts:  “Gold might represent His deity and purity, incense the fragrance of His life, and myrrh His sacrifice and death” (myrrh was used as an embalming spice) (Walvoord and Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament, 22). 

I love the story of the little boy who, during the offering at church, set the plate on the floor and stood on it.  As his embarrassed mother pulled him back to his seat with whispers of “What are you doing?”  he replied in a very loud voice, “But Mommy, I don’t gots no money, so I wanted to give Jesus myself!”  Image the sermon that might have followed that!  But our little friend is right on target.  Just as the magi presented Jesus with gifts, the Bible tells us that we are to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God,” (Romans 12:1).  In the first two verses of Romans 12, Paul tells us that our gifts to God are our bodies (v. 1) and our minds (v. 2) – what we do and how we think.  The gift of our hearts is the thread that holds the whole book together.  In other words, we are to give every bit of ourselves to the Lord.  Remember Jesus’ words about the great commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).  We love God by giving Him ourselves, inside and out.

Let all of you be your gift to Jesus this Christmas.