An Eerie Silence…
Usually, about this time of the year, I’m searching for someone to hear my complaints about all the Christmas hoopla in the stores and all the vain materialism that has come to characterize the season. But this year is different. The plastic glowing Santas still sit unlit on the store shelves. The glittering garland still decorates a price tag. The choir of battery-powered ponies still sing to a congregation of shoppers who will return home without them. What’s so different? For the first time in a long time, the Christmas our culture has known and loved has been stolen by recession.
Economists are fearful that Christmas sales will slump dramatically this year. It seems Santa may need fewer reindeer to pull his new lighter sleigh. I don’t think I’ll miss the stories of people propping up their Christmas trees to make more room underneath. But just like Santa’s newly unemployed reindeer, many people will find the Christmas season missing something: a job. These times are tough, especially during the holidays. It can become easy to turn on God or even deny Him altogether when things aren’t going well. This is the perfect time for God’s people to remind the world that it’s Christmas time.
A Free Gift
What a perfect time to fill Christmas with gifts again. These aren’t trendy expensive gadgets or cheap plastic toys that will last a month. These Christmas gifts are all free. Free! The whole reason we give gifts in the first place is because Jesus came as the first gift on the first Christmas just over 2000 years ago. God sent His Son to give us hope in a hopeless situation. Our sin deserves nothing but condemnation from God, but He gave us a gift in Jesus. He gave us a gift in Jesus’ death and resurrection, bearing our condemnation and giving us the gift of forgiveness. Then God gives us the gift of faith to believe in the gift of Jesus and once those gifts get started, they just keep piling up! With gifts of hope, peace, love, joy, assurance, and more under your tree, you’ll need to prop it up so high that you’ll have to get a shorter tree!
The most important gift you can give this Christmas costs nothing. In a world of pain, both inward and outward, we have a gift to give that brings hope. So how do you give this free gift? It’s easy. Talk. Every time someone brings up Christmas, resist the urge to be secular and talk about Jesus. Trust me, between now and December 25th, someone is going to talk to you about Christmas! And if they want to talk about Christmas, then talk about Christmas. Talk about your free gift and how it can be their free gift too. If you’re talking with a Christian, great! Then you won’t be the only one talking! Regardless, we have some gift giving to do this season. Let’s make sure as many trees as possible are loaded with free gifts this year! Recession or not, IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME!