December 23, 2015 by eneubauer
It is about this time each year that I am checking my list to ensure that all gifts for my wife and four wonderful children have been purchased and wrapped. Because it is in my nature to wait until the last minute I am that person who needs to spend time in the final few days making last minute purchases. I have to admit, I like shopping for Christmas gifts. They are stored in my office until Christmas Eve, wrapped late in the evening and placed underneath the tree while all are fast asleep.
Let me say, I love the Advent season. I love preparing my heart and home for the coming of our Savior, Jesus the Christ. What an amazing story!
The Christmas message is inspiring! For me the simple exchange of gifts is such a powerful symbol of the gift Jesus Christ was / is to all humanity. The gospel according to St. John (3:16) states that, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Hence, we understand the message of the manger is about new beginnings, reconciliation with God and eternal life with Christ for those who believe.
In addition, I believe nestled within the message of the manger is an invitation for you and me.
The message I am speaking of today can be found in holy scripture, “…though he (Jesus) was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV). The message of the manger is Christ’s total and complete gift of self for love of you and me. Within this message we come to understand that Christ is inviting us to love Him and live for others.
Therefore, the challenge as I see it for this Advent season is to consider making our lives a gift to Christ and others. The gift of self is the greatest expression of love a human being can give. Scripture reminds us of this very fact, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13 ESV)
Are you willing to give an additional gift of self this season? In doing so you show your love for Christ, gratitude for his Advent and commitment to serve others.