“And then, just when everything is bearing down on us to such an extent that we can scarcely withstand it, the Christmas message comes to tell us that all our ideas are wrong and that what we take to be evil and dark is really good and light because it comes from God. Our eyes are at fault, that is all. God is in the manger, wealth in poverty, light in the darkness, succor in abandonment. No evil can befall us; whatever men may do to us, they cannot but serve the God who is secretly revealed as love and rules the world and our lives.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Have you ever eagerly anticipated a trip that you’ve planned for months, a new job or relationship, a book or the latest Star Wars movie? But when you actually go on vacation and watch the Star Wars movie, your anticipation turns into disappointment because the experience did not live up to your expectations.
Christmas is one of those rare occasions in life where reality far exceeds our already high expectations. How could it not? For hundreds of years, prophets like Isaiah and Malachi anticipated a Savior who would come to us in the flesh as an infant “so tender and mild.”
In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul is writing about human gifts. The church in Corinth is taking up offerings to give to the poor Christians in Jerusalem. He commends them for their eagerness to help and reminds them that those who sow sparingly will also reap sparingly, but that those who sow generously will reap generously. Then he shifts his attention from human gifts to God’s gift of sending Jesus to earth for us. And he cannot find words to describe that. He simply says, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV). The Living Bible describes it as a “gift too wonderful for words” while the King James version simply calls it “his unspeakable gift.”
God gave a gift beyond words, the unspeakable gift of His Son. My prayer is that we all will embrace this gift. It doesn’t come in any wrapping paper. No assembly is required. The gift of Jesus never expires, goes out of style, or becomes outdated or obsolete. Jesus is one gift that will never lose its value or worth. Even though we don’t deserve and could never earn this gift, God freely gave Jesus to all who will receive Him.
Christmas is the season for giving gifts. And it’s no wonder that we give gifts to loved ones at this time since Christmas is really the celebration of God’s gift to those He loves—His perfect Gift of Jesus to you and me.
- Have you ever tried to describe the gift of Jesus that first Christmas? What words did you use?
- What can we do this holiday season to make more room for Jesus?