At this time of year, a lot of people get excited about what will be waiting for them under the Christmas tree, thinking that these things will somehow bring them fulfillment.
How many of us remember what we received last Christmas? A few months after this coming Christmas, we probably will also have forgotten about many of the gifts we will open on Christmas day. Christmas is not about gifts under a tree; it’s about a relationship with God. Jesus came to give us life in all its fullness.
John 10:10 NLT The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life (emphasis mine).
It would be easy for us to think about the gifts we give or receive this season, but what if we remembered that Jesus gives us three amazing gifts:
Jesus Gives Understanding
Jesus understands our frailty. He understands that we are human, and we struggle with things, real things. Things that sometimes cause us to become depressed, overwhelmed and burdened. Jesus was human and he. He experienced these struggles too so each heartache Jesus know what these struggles feel like.
Hebrews 4:15-16 NLT  This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.  So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Jesus understands that we may struggle to believe in truth and joy at Christmas. It is hard to keep having faith when our hearts are broken and feel like our faith is holding on to a thread. Turning to Jesus with our weakness is exactly what He invites us to do - even during Christmas time.
Our weaknesses do surprise Him. He is not turned off by them.
Matthew 11:28 NLT  Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest (emphasis mine).
He will always welcome us.
Romans 8:1 NLT  So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
Jesus Gives Rest
The Christmas season is filled with activities. We have parties, presents, and programs filling our calendars and crowding out peace in our lives. We might be tempted to just do more when what we may be peace.
The Bible reminds us that Jesus is our Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 NLT  For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
We might have to say “no” to some activities or get-togethers this season. Peace won’t be found in doing more but in resting. It is ok not to go to everything we are invited to. Don’t decline everything but realize that you can always come to Jesus. When you do, there is rest.
Philippians 4:6-7 NLT  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
There is peace and rest when our minds our set on Jesus.
Isaiah 26:3 NLT  You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Jesus Gives Joy
Joy might have come to the world on that night in Bethlehem, but joy might be the last thing you are feeling this Christmas season. Jesus has an amazing gift for you. The gift of joy.
In one of the last conversations that Jesus had with his disciples He said this.
John 15:4-11 NLT  Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.  “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.  “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.  When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.  I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow (emphasis mine)!
He told His disciples that their joy would be made complete as they learned to remain with Him.
Yes there may be pain, suffering and grief but because Jesus is coming back it won’t last forever.
John 16:20-22 NLT  I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy.  It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world.  So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.
Pain and death and suffering will not last forever. Even if it lasts our whole lives, eternity with Jesus’ joy is longer!