I was really looking forward to Christmas this year. Going to church, hanging with my friends, singing Christmas carols, eating ridiculous amounts of food and all that jazz. However today was a bit different than what I had hoped. There was definitely things that made me happy today, but there were also things that made me sad.
On Christmas day today, my nose decided that it would like to be a waterfall. It started pouring out fast, and it doesn’t seem to stop. It’s running as if it were partaking in an Olympic 100m Sprint. My nose also likes making loud noises, blowing like a ship’s fog horn as it embraces tissue after tissue. Or perhaps scaring the children around me as I sneeze at volumes far too high for the prayer that’s happening in my beloved church halls. My nose like me, is a bit crazy, really loud, often annoying and has a great imagination.
You might say that I’m a little sad, perhaps even overly dramatic about my fever and cold that’s developing right now as I type this out however… But there were also some things today that made me happy, even if my nose controlled face wouldn’t allow that to show too well.
My church for Christmas Service also has lunch afterwards, however there was a problem… actually a few problems… I was meant to buy a ticket for lunch last week on Sunday but I aptly forgot and they aren’t selling them anymore today. Also today even if I was allowed to buy them, I actually didn’t have any cash on me to buy it with I also really wanted to have lunch earlier than everyone else, since my nose had forced me to leave my church service way before completion.
With these things in mind, I talked to the church lunch organizer and said… “Hey I’m a bit of a scrub and I forgot to buy a lunch ticket last Sunday…” to which she quickly replied, “No worries! You can buy one now!” to which I quickly notified her that I had no money, and almost instantly she said “All good! I buy for you!” To which I said “Can I also have it NOW?” and she was again, “No worries!” And just like that I got church lunch, with no ticket, with no money, and way earlier than everyone else. And of course just like every Asian, anything free makes me happy!
And as I went home with my plans of hanging out with friends, singing, playing music, eating ridiculous amounts of food all being canceled by my rather demanding nose it reminded me of something. It reminded me of the simple nature of gifts. That they’re undeserved. That they’re free. That they’re given irrespective of the relationship between the giver and the receiver.
I didn’t order and buy a lunch ticket when I was supposed to. So my lunch was undeserved. I didn’t pay a single thing because of my ignorance. So my lunch was free. I didn’t ask in a particularly nice or polite way. So the receiving of my lunch wasn’t based on me having a particularly special relationship with the lunch organizer. You might call this grace.
And this is the same with the Christmas story. Christmas celebrates Jesus’ birth into this world some 2000 years ago. That the real gift of Christmas is actually found in the person of Jesus. For the Bible talks of us as people who have chosen to reject God and therefore have sin which leads to the punishment of death. Jesus dies the death that we deserve and takes away our sin and so brings us back into right and perfect relationship with God.
Jesus brings us true peace between us and God for we were enemies of God.
Jesus brings us true family because in Jesus we are now God’s children.
Jesus brings us true satisfaction because His name is Emmanuel which means “God with us.”
And even more than that, the Christmas Story of Jesus is so wonderful because He is a gift. Jesus is not something that we deserved. Jesus is not something that I could have bought. Jesus did not die for me because I had a good relationship with God beforehand. The Christmas message of Jesus dying for us and dealing with our sins to bring us into right relationship with God is truly beautiful because it is grace.
So even though I’m at home now, with my nose getting bigger and bigger, my temperature going higher and higher, my thoughts getting more and more delirious, my stacks of tissues used piling bigger and bigger there is still good. It highlighted my own undeservingness of the simple gift of lunch at church and this reminded me of my total undeservingness of the greatest and best gift of Christmas. Jesus Christ Himself.
So however you’re feeling today, I hope you might remember the greatest gift that is in the person of Jesus. That He is the #reasonfortheseason. That you might accept Jesus and rejoice that in Him you have “Emmanuel.” “God with us.”
“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on His shoulders.
And He will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”