It’s that time of year again. The time of year where most people start to get stressed about what gift to buy for Uncle Ed the man who has everything and what crappy gift should I bring for the white elephant exchange. The worst of all…what to buy for your mom, the lady who never lets you forget how long she was in labor to deliver you.
For me the holiday’s are not like that. I have joy in my heart that lives there all year long. The thing is, at Christmas time my joy comes out in ways that I can’t explain. I like to think I am carrying the Christmas torch that my Dad passed to me when he died. He made Christmas fun, crazy, and huge and I want to do that too. I remember what you said in the summer; “I really want this but I don’t need it so I will never buy it”. I store away nuggets of info like this all year. If you’ve ever received a gift from me it’s usually something that you mentioned months ago and I’ve tucked it away for the perfect Christmas gift for you. I simply want to see joy spread across your face when you open your gift. That smile is better than any gift.
Charlie Brown’s was having a terrible Christmas. He couldn’t get over what Christmas had become. Christmas has been boiled down to a long list of “gimme”, “I need”, and “I want it now!” Charlie wanted to know what Christmas was really about. This is the part of the story where I cry, every, single, time.
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'”
Charlie finally realized that Christmas isn’t about a list of things that you ask for. Christmas is about a gift that he didn’t know that he needed and with that he left with a joy in his heart. Charlie gets sad again when his tree bends as he tries to decorate it. In good ol’ Charlie fashion he shouts “Everything I touch gets ruined.” I know that I have felt this way before and I needed someone to come beside and show me love and that’s what happens to Charlie. Linus sees Charlie’s tree and says “I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It just needs some love” and by decorating the tree they showed Charlie love that he needed.
The perfect gift was not asked for but it was certainly needed. We needed a savior and God with his abounding love sent Jesus as a gift to us. If you know Jesus you can’t help but to have a joy in your heart. That joy comes from God, it’s a gift that is meant for all of us and it is a gift that needs to be shared. Today is December 19th and I challenge you give some joy away today. You will be surprised how amazing it will make you feel. Pick up someones tab at a restaurant, buy a cup of coffee for a Salvation Army worker who is standing in the freezing cold, buy lunch for a homeless person….the choices are endless and the joy you feel will be limitless. This Christmas, give. Give time, give gifts, give joy, give kind words, and most importantly give how Christ gives, with no strings attached, give love.