Society tells us this is the time to get our Christmas shopping done...with Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals clogging up inboxes, infiltrating radio, television and internet advertisements...making us feel inferior if we don't find the "perfect" present. As Christians in the world, there is a struggle between the preparation and contemplation and the harried, frenetic pace where we gallop from event to event, trying desperately to get everything done so we can enjoy Christmas dinner with our friends and family as well as worship, pray, contemplate, wrap, shop, bake, write, mail and create. Whew!
What we need to remember, what we try to do, is to slow ourselves down. The truth of the matter is, the baby will be born whether we are ready or not. If the Christmas cards don't get mailed until January, so what? Will you ever find the "perfect" gift?
Okay, that was a trick question...because we've already been given the perfect gift.
The tiny baby, born of an ordinary girl, who had traveled with her betrothed to be counted; gave birth in a barn. It was less than ideal circumstances, and yet she knew this child would save the world.
This helpless baby, whose first crib was a food-trough, grew into a carpenter, a rabbi and a son. He was blessed with two fathers; an earthly father and a heavenly father, and a mother who loved him like no other.
May I suggest, instead of adding stress and strain to an already crazy time of year, we sit down with a cup of tea (or coffee, or sherry) and remember those Christmases of our childhoods. What was the best thing? Was it a gift? A special recipe made only once a year? A gathering of family and/or friends? A gorgeous nap after a busy time? All those things are wonderful and marvelous things, and yet they don't compare to the gift of the infant, who we know as Messiah, Emmanuel, God-with-us.
He is the perfect gift.