Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Unwrapping God's Christmas Gifts

I HAVE BEEN BLESSED!

Throughout my life there have been some great Christmases. There have always been lots of gifts under the tree (not that gifts under tree = blessings, but you hopefully get my point.) Christmas, even amidst all the holiday rush, has always seem to provide opportunity for expressions of faith, family, and of course a little fun.

As I reflect over past Christmases, and contemplate the one I am in right now, I am aware of just how varied and wonderful the gifts of God are to us.

One of those being for me, the gift of family.

I suppose this has something to do with the fact that I am going to pick up my second eldest daughter at the airport. She arrives for a three week "vacation" from her Peace Corps post in Burkina Faso, Africa. It has been a year and a half since she left and the whole family is truly excited to welcome her home.

Family is important. God created it and blessed it. It is not without design that the second Person in the God-head is referred to as Son. It is not without purpose that God's Son entered into our corner of the universe in the midst of family. He had a mom, a dad, and siblings too. Family is important. When we respond to God's gift of forgiveness and grace we are brought into His family. We are called children of the Most High. Yes, family is important. Family is a gift.

This Advent season I have been preaching on the Gifts of Christmas. Namely, God's hope, peace, joy, and this Sunday, His love. As I think about it, each of these can be best given and expressed within the context of family. Not always an easy task, that's for sure. Some of us have had some horrendous family experiences (especially during the holiday season), but that does not make family unimportant, in fact it makes it more so.

As I was thinking about God's great gifts, like love and family, I was drawn to a portion of Scripture not normally preached on the Sunday before Christmas. But, as I read it over and over, I was drawn to 1 Peter 1:17-25. It speaks of God's gift of love, and how that gift came because of and in the midst of "family." And like all family relationships carries both blessings and responsibilities. I include it here for you to ponder with me.

And yes, may the Lord bless you richly, not only this Christmas but always.

17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25 but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.

1 comment:

gentledove said...

Wow! Glad to hear your whole family will be together for Christmas! God Bless you all with a very joyous Christmas and holiday season!