Until Susan and I married on January 12th, 2011, her family (gift wise) consisted of nine people plus a handful of friends. Reasonable. But now, with my family stepping into the portrait, we have 18 additional family members to shop for plus another handful of my friends. Sue’s head is spinning, not knowing what would be the “perfect” gift for each family, not to mention each of my grandchildren, most of whom Sue has yet to meet.
“What are we going to do?” she asked.
“Not a problem,” says I. (Praise the Lord for gift cards to Bass Pro Shop, Kohl’s, Michael’s, Toys-R-Us and so on.)
My grandchildren have grown out of it now but there was a time when they were much younger when each of them received more useless presents than they could open in an hour. On Christmas morning they would grab a package from their “New Gift” pile, tear ribbon and wrapping to shreds, give the newest gift a quick once over, then toss it on their “Been There, Done That” pile. Susan and I agree, that’s a sad commentary on today’s culture.
But there is something else she and I also agree on. We feel as though Jesus Christ is being thrown out of His own birthday party. Did you ever show up at your birthday party and everyone else got all the presents? And to add to that insult, you were not allowed into your own party. Well, that’s what happens every year at Christmas in many homes across America. After all, the birth of Christ is what the season is all about and He is rarely and barely remembered. Even shut out.
Jesus Christ was God the Father’s gift to the human race. Jesus came to be born of humble birth, live 33 plus years, be crucified and die as a substitute Who paid for our sins, be buried in a tomb, then be raised to life again after three days and nights. But in this day and age it seems we celebrate Santa Claus more than The Lord of The Universe! (And of course everyone but little children knows there is no Santa Claus!)
And what do most of us do with Christ on Christmas morning? Much like my grandkids did at a younger age, we grab Jesus from the pile, barely give him a glance, then discard Him on the “Not Interested in that Gift” pile while we look around eagerly for what’s next that might dazzle us or give us temporary pleasure in life.
Now I’m certainly not suggesting that all families nor all children are this callous toward the true meaning of Christmas. Nor am I saying that most think of The Lord Jesus Christ as a fantasy Santa Claus character. But I do think that we fundamental born-again Christians here in the good-old USA are slipping closer each year to becoming like the world.
This year let’s put Christ back in Christmas, where He belongs. Let’s make a conscious effort to bring the gift of Christ’s love to others. Just ask Him to impress upon you what He might have you do this Christmas season to make Him real and alive to someone who does not know Him. Remember, Jesus is not Santa.
Have a wonderful Christmas season and a new year filled with the goodness of God,
Carl and Sue
My blogs usually end with a few paragraphs from one of my novels but this time I have chosen several beautiful passages from the Bible. May they touch your heart in a profound and saving way:
… the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23b. NIV.)
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. (John 3:16. NIV.)
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6. ESV.)
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6. NIV.)
Addendum: Novels by Carl Peters, now available on Amazon Kindle, above right:
Victory – Heroes are sometimes found in the most unusual places. Victory is the short story about a boy’s daydreams and how he learned “the secret formula of how to make his dreams come true” from a most unusual friend. Victory is an animated adventure for the whole family.
The Tallest Angel – The inspirational family adventure novel based on the short story, Victory. This family story takes over where Victory ends, that is, AFTER RICHIE WAKES UP from his dream adventure! A fun story, part real life, part Disney-like animated fantasy, woven together to surely charm the kid in each of us.
Solo – A twenty-four year old Christian woman, Joy, is tempted to stray from her Lord. But through a series of unique, heaven-sent events she is befriended by Paul, an older man who steps in as the father figure she’s not had for nine years. As their father – daughter relationship develops, Paul gives Joy much-needed wholesome Christian advice about life.
Transgression – Definitely an edgy John Grisham type novel. The story of a sinful preacher and the terrible consequences his sin brings upon his church family. The amazing part of this story is how the Lord eventually brings out the silver lining from the darkest storm clouds. This story is powerful, at times overwhelming, yet gentle in it’s application of God’s truths.