This week, Pastor John hands over the TAGD keyboard to Marti Wiegman, Northpoint’s Director of Women’s Ministries.
Give Me Jesus
Dear Northpoint Family,
Do you remember a Christmas when you got the most amazing gift ever? Something you longed for but only imagined getting in your wildest dreams—like Ralphie and his quest for a Red Ryder BB gun in that classic Christmas movie.
For me, that magical gift came when I was in first grade. Every Christmas Eve Dad would lead the service at church while we kids provided the “special” music (I’m using that word very loosely). Afterwards, we would gather around our family tree for cocoa and cookies. That’s when Mom and Dad brought the brightly wrapped gifts out of hiding and put them under the tree—but we couldn’t open them until Christmas morning! Though I was the youngest of five, that year the biggest present under the tree had my name on it. It was hard to sleep that night, bubbling over with anticipation of what was inside.
When Christmas morning finally arrived, Dad took his well-worn Bible and read the story of Jesus’ birth (which seemed to take FOREVER) as we huddled together in our PJs waiting to open our gifts. When my turn to open a present finally came, I picked the big, mysterious package with its enormous gold bow. Inside was a beautiful bride doll that stood almost three feet tall. She had long brown hair with a flowing veil and a dazzling satin gown accented with pearls and white fur. And when you pulled back her arm, she actually “threw” her bouquet. I loved that doll!
Remembering those childhood Christmases makes me wonder: What good gifts are we anticipating from our Heavenly Father this Christmas? Do we feel the joy of expectation at his blessings even before knowing what he has in store?
To be honest, I find these questions particularly convicting this year. Truth is, I’m running a little low on anticipation this Christmas. My husband’s dad passed away just over a month ago, so this will be a difficult holiday season in our home. Somehow listening in on the joyful chatter about everyone else’s family gatherings and celebrations seems to make the pain of our loss ache a little deeper. There are moments when I just kind of want Christmas to come and go as quickly as possible.
I’m sure this is a difficult Christmas for others in our Northpoint family. Maybe you, too, have lost a loved one. Or perhaps your loss is of a different sort—a job, a home, or a relationship. Maybe illness has darkened your celebration. Perhaps a loved one you’ve known all your life now can’t even remember your name.
Does God have good gifts stored up for us even in these dark times? Absolutely! In fact, it’s often when the things of this world are darkest that we see the light of his glory shine brightest.
In 2 Corinthians 4:6 (NLT) we read: For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
No matter how dark a season you find yourself in this Christmas, the light of the love of God is visible, tangible, in the face of Jesus Christ. And that light can outshine every shadow of suffering and sadness. God the Father gave his Son so that whoever believes in him will never perish but have eternal life. Even death loses its sting in the brilliant light of our Father’s love.
Here’s just one gift I know is waiting for each of us this Christmas. Matthew 1:23 says, speaking of our Savior: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means God with us).
Think of it: God, the creator of heaven and earth, is with us—loves us, knows us, indwells us. What an amazing gift! God is with us—as we wait in the oncologist’s office, as the employer reviews our resume, as we struggle to revive a loveless marriage, or grieve for a wayward child this Christmas. God is with us in all our moments, bringing light and life, and comfort and joy.
The biggest, brightest present under any tree this Christmas is Jesus. Whatever this world holds for you today, God has given you a Savior who is Christ the Lord. And nothing could be better. Let’s dwell on God’s most gracious gift, and let the light of his presence bring blessing and joy this Christmas and every day.
Praying your Christmas is merry and bright in our Savior’s love,