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The Greatest Gift of All



The scents of the house fill our nostrils with aromas of garlic, pine, and cinnamon. There is a light flurry coating the ground outside- a rare and special sighting at this time. A glare of Christmas lights is painted on the glass door separating the rooms displaying our two trees.


It is officially the most wonderful time of the year.


Christmas.


Hands down my favorite holiday. Just the smell of balsam is enough to bring back countless memories filled with love and joy from years and years ago. The excitement I used to feel as a little girl, cuddling up in my sleeping back and trying to listen for Santa’s sleigh. The warmth that filled our home as friends and family occupied every square inch, with laughter and genuine happiness floating in the air. The coziness of having the entire family in one room, surrounding a tree filled with presents to exchange.


Although much of the excitement has since made its way from my once childlike self on a Christmas morning, that feeling of genuine love and joy never fails to find its way to my heart during this season.


This year, though, is especially different.


December was my assigned month to teach children’s ministry at church. Obviously, I knew my task was going to be tackling the Christmas story. Okay. Easy enough, right? Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph. Yay. Joy to the world. How was I going to get four weeks worth of lessons out of that?


Now, those of you who are devout Christians are probably rolling your eyes. I know. I’m a dweeb.


Because the truth is, there is SO much more to the Christmas story.


Oh boy, was I in for an exciting and reassuring ride.


As I began to study my resource packet for each week’s lesson, I was floored with the amount of information I didn’t quite really know about the true meaning of Christmas.

Each week, we dove into the story and dissected it bit by bit. When I look at it this way, I am brought to tears about just how much this season means to me now. Here’s what I learned, simultaneously with 3rd-5th graders…


1. God scripted Jesus’ birth LONG before he was sent to earth.

  • Dude. He prophesied to the people in Isaiah that he was going to send a savior for them. ISAIAH. That’s like, way back.

2. His script was flawlessly designed.

  • Every single detail that was poured into Jesus’ birth was delicately executed with God’s hand. If just one thing were different, we may have never gotten a savior who took our every shame to the cross.

3. The wisemen weren’t actually at the nativity scene.

  • Ok this one floored me the most. I mean jaw-dropping. The dudes came TWO YEARS LATER. TWO YEARS.

And on and on I learned and learned. About King Herod, Caesar Augustus, Gabriel, and all of the details that went into this one moment in time.


However, the biggest thing I learned from teaching the kids, was the simplicity of the message. We often know it, and touch base on it, but do we TRULY understand it?


“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid! For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today, in the City of David, a Savior is born unto you. He is Christ the Lord!’” Luke 2:10-11

A savior. Through the birth of Jesus we were given a SAVIOR. Without a savior, our flesh would not be able to interact with God, simply because of its sinful nature.


But Jesus was sent to us so that we could be forgiven by God. So that we could enter into His presence. Without the blood of Jesus covering our life, we would not be able to even be in the presence of God. How humbling.


Jesus was a gift from God. A gift that is better than any piece of jewelry, electronic, or new TV that may be residing under your tree on Christmas morning. Unlike those items, Jesus is filled with free grace, that covers our life for eternity. That is a true lifetime guarantee. Anytime we mess up, our ticket to heaven is still intact- as long as we repent that sin to this Jesus who was born in a manger.


Could you imagine life without that gift? I know I can’t.


We would have no chance at spending eternity in heaven. Instead, our flesh would doom us instantly. It is truly incredible how much God loves us to send a sacrifice in our name, long before we were even born.


He loved us so much, he gave everything to save us and change our lives completely. Without the Christmas season, we have no chance at redemption. At living a new life. At being whole and complete again.


“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17

He wanted to save the world through His son’s sacrifice. That’s how much He loved and continues to love us. Let us remember that, and pour out that love to others today. They may not deserve it, and you may have to fight every inch of fiber in you to actually exude love their way, but it’s what we, as Christians, are called to do. It's what God did for us. We don't deserve love or grace, but here we are, being gifted both of those each and every day.


As I emphasized this to the kids each week, they would come in excited to tell me how they started to tell others about Jesus and His love. They were passionate about the gifts of joy, peace, grace, patience and forgiveness that God gives us every day. They helped me gain a childlike excitement about the birth of my Savior. Jesus came so they we could have grace. Our sins could be wiped away. We could have a relationship with

God again. How amazing is that?


Without Jesus, we would have failed at our mission to be blameless in front of the Father.


That is the greatest gift of all.


So even if this season isn’t so jolly for you, even if there is anger and hurt clouding your life at the moment- try to remember how much God loves you and how the Christmas season is a symbol of new life, a newfound beginning, and unconditional love, forever.


Merry Christmas y’all.


Thank you God for sending little baby Jesus.

Xoxo

-Danielle

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