First published 21 December 2014
This is what I wrote on the private blog I have for my kids last year…
There are a couple of things I worry about at Christmas if I’m honest.
One is that as a family we’ll lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas – which is that Jesus gave up His place with His Father to be born on earth in order to die for our sake, to save us from our sins. That’s something that will affect us for eternity – forever. Compared to the enjoyment we have each Christmas, which lasts for a few days, and even the presents which could last for a year or two, Jesus is much more important and much more precious.
The other thing I worry about is that Mum and I will spend too much on you, and that you won’t appreciate just how much it costs. By now you should be able to work out roughly how much the presents cost and work out that there are four of you, and that there are stocking presents as well, and therefore work out how much all these things would have cost altogether. And then you could think about what else we could have bought for that amount – a new car? A holiday abroad?
But here I want to hopefully make you see that there is a way of thinking about these two things together – the spending and the true meaning of Christmas.
What made me think about it was the word ‘lavish’. It’s a word that means ‘more than enough’. It indicates being given luxuries and treats, rather than just what you need. It’s what I thought when I tried to think what to buy you for Christmas, and when I realised that you don’t need anything. What we bought you for Christmas were things that were treats, things that are nice to have, but things you can do without. I thought that if we’re buying stuff you don’t really need, then we are being lavish. The other word is ‘extravagant’. We’re giving you everything you need and more!
And that made me think of where that word lavish appears in the Bible. There are two places I can think of:
‘See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!’ (1 John 3:1)
‘In [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.’ (Ephesians 1:5-8)
You may not understand all of the big words in those verses, but you should be able to see that one of the ways God has been lavish with us is that we can be called His children. He as adopted us through the Lord Jesus Christ. When we call Him our Heavenly Father, we should realise that that is His lavish gift to us. It’s much more than we deserve.
The only reason we can have this wonderful gift is because of the sacrifice Jesus made in coming to earth and dying for us. That gave us God’s other lavish gift to us – forgiveness of our sins.
So because of Christmas, because Jesus was born and lived and died for us, we can be forgiven from all the awful and wrong things we’ve done and said and thought. And not only that, but we can be called children of God! So God gives us everything we need and more… forever!
Just imagine if you were the Queen’s son or daughter. Imagine if you were part of the Royal Family. Would you have everything you needed? Everything you wanted? Whatever food you wanted? Whatever clothes and toys? Could you go on holiday just about anywhere you wanted?
Now think about how much greater God is than our Queen. He is the maker and the ruler of the whole universe – everything that exists. He has the power to be able to do anything. He is perfectly good. So it must be so much better to be in God’s Royal Family!
So when Mum and I spend so much money on you at Christmas, when we are lavish with our gifts to you, just remember that God is much more lavish and extravagant. He has adopted us into His family, given us things that will last forever, forgiven our sins, all through the lavish gift of His Son…
… Jesus who came at Christmas.