The Christmas season can be a joyous time of year, but for some it can be a time of busyness, stress and depression. The level of activity we pack into the month of December can include redecorating our homes with Christmas decorations, attending many parties and events, sending cards to many, shopping for and buying many gifts, etc. which can create enormous stress and rob us of the joy of the season.
When we shift our focus from the busyness and stress of the season to the Ultimate Gift God has provided for us, Jesus our Savior, we can restore the joy He provides. This gift allows us to experience a powerful and intimate relationship with Him that we were designed to have.
The Gift to the World
The Ultimate Gift to the world is provided in one of the most famous scriptures in the Bible, John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The gift of God’s only son Jesus provided the ultimate gift that allows us to be filled with His Holy Spirit and come blamelessly before our Heavenly Father. This is the gift that should be celebrated throughout the year as we understand the gift of Jesus is the one gift that allows us to leave our sin and shame on the cross and have an intimate and abundant relationship with our Creator, as we were intended to have from the beginning of creation.
There are many in the world who don’t view the gift of Jesus as the ultimate gift that He is because of the picture presented by some Christians or a bad experience with a church. I can relate to this experience due to being raised in a Christian home where we went to church many times during the week, but having an earthly father that was physically, emotionally and verbally abusive. When I was old enough to run the other direction away for Christianity, I did so for over 20 years. Thankfully, God opened my eyes to see that my experiences were not from Him but from a hurting man that never learned to allow healing in his life through the gift of Jesus. I was able to forgive my earthly father and reconcile my relationship with him before his death.
I have talked to many that have a similar experience, or they attended a church that deeply wounded them and want nothing to do with Christianity. This is a sad commentary because the wrong picture of God’s gift to the world, Jesus the Messiah is portrayed. Many are also turned off by the condemnation that is cast on the world by the Christian community. It appears they know what we are against, but not what we are for, nor do they see the love of Christ expressed in our workplaces or communities. If we continue the John 3:16 verse into verses 17 and 18, we get a clear answer to how our gift of Christ would respond, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
Accepting and Enjoying the Gift
Like any gift, if we do not accept it and enjoy it, there will be limited value. We can also adopt a form of religion instead of the gift of Jesus and miss the relationship we were intended to have. To me, one of the most sobering verses in the Bible is found in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
These were people that thought they had accepted the gift of Jesus because they were doing great things in his name. They would be spiritual superstars in our day filling stadiums because they were prophesying, casting out demons and performing many miracles in his name, but He called them evil because they did not have a relationship with Him. There is a big difference between knowing about Jesus and having a relationship with Him. We develop our relationship with Him as we open the gift, are filled with the Holy Spirit, develop a love for His Word, because He is the Word (John 1:14) and spend time with Him in prayer. When we do this, we reflect Him to those placed in our circle of influence.
Embracing the New Year
The number nine is the number associated with harvest, so as we enter 2019 let’s open the ultimate gift our Heavenly Father has given us in His son Jesus and allow His Holy Spirit to fill us and produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. The nine fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control so let us manifest these and the world will have an accurate portrayal of the wonderful, beautiful and ultimate gift we call Jesus.
We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. We appreciate being on this journey with you and I thank our Heavenly Father for the influence each of you provide to positively impact individuals, families, cities, and nations.
To get more information and join the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3) movement, go to www.sc-c3.org and become a member today!
Jamie Jordan is the State Director for the South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce (SC-C3). His passion is to see unity and excellence exhibited within the Christian community. Jamie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.