2 Dec 2011

Adoption – What Christmas is All About

Posted by Joanna

I’ve often wondered how Christmas got monopolized by a chubby elf dressed in a red suit (an ugly suit at that).  Granted, that said elf can cover the entire globe in one evening delivering presents to good, well-behaved children from all nations is quite an amazing feat in and of itself. Most importantly however, is what this elf represents to the average everyday person like you and I – PRESENTS!  You see, it is around this time of year that a hope emerges in the hearts of boys and girls, men and women.  A hope that makes us feel good about ourselves even if our year went badly. A hope that finds its fulfillment on Christmas morning when that age-old question “what are you getting me this year?” is finally answered…

It’s no secret that Christmas has become all about the presents and because of this, we are all driven into a mad consumerist frenzy where shopping replaces family time.  Instead of worrying about caring for people, we worry if they’ll like the present we bought them.  And sometimes, we feel obligated to buy gifts for certain people because we’re afraid of upsetting them if we don’t. So fear, obligation and our own reputations become the main motivations to give gifts rather than simply love and generosity.  Perhaps a re-evaluation of how and why we give gifts is in order?

Galatians 4:4-6 tells us that God sent his Son to redeem us so that we can be adopted as his sons and daughters.  God knows that the greatest gift he can give to us is Himself.  Think about this for a moment: the Creator of everything wants to give Himself to you. Let me repeat: the Creator of EVERYTHING wants to GIVE HIMSELF TO YOU.  God wants to adopt us as his own sons so that we can experience the perfect love and relationship the Father and Son share with one another.  There is no bond greater, nothing more satisfying than sharing in this.  He wants us to experience joy and delight like we’ve never experienced before.

You see, for God, relationships are about giving. In the relationship between the Father and the Son, it’s about giving. In the Son’s relationship with us, it’s about giving.  Even Creation itself is about God giving of himself so that all created things (ie. You and me) can enjoy his love and presence.

This Christmas, let us make it about giving by remembering how the Father gave his Son to us so that we can all be his sons and daughters.  The more we understand our own adoption into God’s family, the freer we will be to give.  On a practical level, in our gift-giving, let us GIVE MORE and SPEND LESS.  Spend more time with family and friends than at the mall or supermarket. Make gifts for people rather than going into debt buying them.

Consider taking up this challenge:  Take your total Christmas gift budget, spend 75% of it and give 25% away to your favorite cause (…or better yet, how about 50/50?)

Let’s combat the rampant consumerism that plagues this beautiful holiday. Giving gifts is great, but do we really want to keep perpetuating the idea that Christmas is simply about giving and receiving presents – where materialism is idolized, but spirituality is forgotten? Do we really want that chubby imaginary elf taking over a holiday that is really meant to celebrate the Father giving his Son to us?

God bless,

Pastor Keith

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