by Kevin Burton
You who are reading this, you are the merchandise of Christmas. So am I.
If your Christmas tree is surrounded by brightly-packaged presents, that’s all well and good. Christmas morning on that level can be a joy and I hope yours is.
Each year we see messages from people trying to focus on the birth of Jesus, the real meaning of Christmas, and not so much on the exchanging of gifts.
If your heart is in that place, consider this: The Bible says you were bought with a price. Peter and Paul both made this point in the New Testament. Here are the passages:
“Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ,” (I Peter 1:18-19 NASB).
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought for a price: therefore glorify God in your body,” (I Cor. 6:19-20 NASB).
Your salvation was purchased at the cross of Calvary, through the blood of Jesus. That’s an Easter message, I know. But the birth of Christ that we celebrate at Christmas, began the earthly manifestation of God’s plan of salvation. Only to Hallmark Cards is it useful to think of Easter and Christmas in isolation.
That makes you and me the very first Christmas purchases.
Are we damaged goods? Primed for a re-gift? Keep the receipt?
That’s how I see myself, but that’s not how God sees us. That is the amazing part. He is fully aware of our sins, how we have fallen short of His standard, but He sees us through Jesus and the sacrifice Jesus made for us.
Here’s a super familiar passage from the book of John. As much as you can, try to read it as if it were the first time. Slow down a little. Take it in.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3: 16-18 NKJV).
Are there terms and conditions? The passage says, believe. For those who believe, the Bible says all sales are final.
“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10: 29 NKJV).
If somebody left you a great gift, paid the price and left it at layaway at Wal-Mart, in your name, would you not at least go see what it is? What a waste to ignore such an earthly gift. What a tragedy to ignore God’s gift.
Christmas brings a season of good feelings and I don’t want to speak against that. But there is a much greater gift available.
So many people who have their minds closed off from any consideration of the gospel most of the time, just might hear a word or two of encouragement at Christmas.
Be patient with those, as God was patient with you, and don’t fail to give those words of gospel encouragement. Pray that God will give you the right words to say. Will He not honor that prayer?