We are full into the busy season of Christmas. Last night we hosted our third Christmas party. This coming week the college students will be coming home and many are making plans to travel to loved ones. There are goodies to bake and presents to buy and wrap. Christmas songs are playing everywhere and the Hallmark Channel is showing movies about the true spirit of Christmas.
According to our culture, Christmas is all about family and friends and a giving spirit and spreading good will to all men. How ironic. I don’t know about you, but when I am stressed and have too many things to do, the last thing I feel like being is “giving” and “full of good will.” I am annoyed at the traffic and frustrated about the minor mishap in the kitchen and impatient with people who don’t respond to me when I need a response! And I want to buy really great gifts but it will cost too much and there’s not enough time and they don’t appreciate what I do for them anyway! Grrrrr. (So much for what the world thinks about Christmas…)
Yesterday in church we sang two songs that I seemed to hear for the first time. One said,
Love came down and rescued me/ I am Yours, all my days, Jesus I am yours
I woke up with that refrain in my head “I am yours, Jesus, I am Yours.” I belong to Him and we are in relationship. Because He came down to earth and rescued me, I am His. His beloved child. His much-loved daughter. The One He is working on, perfecting, completing. I’m not done yet, there are many rough edges to smooth off. I’m still full of my own desires and my own stubborn will. I still respond poorly many times. But He came to earth to rescue me from myself, from my sin. And that can’t have been a pleasant experience for Him. He was not born in a palace with comfort and ease. He was born in a dirty stable to peasant parents who didn’t understand Him. He was despised and rejected while here on earth. But He did it out of love for you and for me. He knew we needed to be rescued and we couldn’t do it ourselves. What compassion and love!
The other song we sang yesterday was “Joy to the World.” I have sung this song my whole life but only recently have I noticed the truth of the last verse:
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.
This verse tells us that Jesus is King. He rules the world (with His inherent truth and grace, of course) and because of His rule, the nations of His kingdom will demonstrate – prove – His righteousness and the amazing wonder of His love. Because Jesus came to earth and rescued us, we can have the righteousness that comes only from Him and the love that He possesses can shine into and through us! Because I’m in relationship, His loved daughter, I can rejoice in His love and show His righteousness and love to others. Even during this busy stressful season!
These two songs encouraged me to think about His amazing love for me and that I am His. And because I am His beloved child, I want to represent Him well. I want to live in a righteous loving way as proof that I am His daughter.
Rob Reimer said, “The more you know you are loved, the less you want to trample on that love.”
Because He is Emmanuel, God with us. The God who came down in love to rescue us.
Which is the true meaning of Christmas.