december 23

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Christmas got under way today in the Brower family. If you know my family well, it would come as no surprise that we opened Christmas presents at 1:33 in the afternoon, on December 23rd. We don’t do anything the way most families do. Our longest standing tradition is having Chili and cinnamon rolls on Christmas eve. Only, I can’t remember the last time we had Christmas Eve on December 24th. We are really bad at traditions, but we understand each other, so it works.

Anyway, we have gotten to the point that our family is too big for everyone to get everyone presents, so we draw names of all the kids so that we don’t have to take out a second mortgage every year in December. One of the names we drew this year was my niece Chloe. In keeping with the theme of Brower family Christmas’ we bought her three separate gifts, and only managed to get one wrapped and under the tree for her. We told her she had more, and we would get them to her later… who says that, seriously!? Apparently we do… I said to her as I was explaining, things,

“Hey, the silver lining here is, our gift is the gift that keeps on giving.”

Which lands me on at Advent gift #23

The gift of an infinite gift.

I know, it sounds a little outside of the box… stay with me.

The gifts that we give one another on a annual basis surrounding this holiday, are one and done. That is the nature of gifts. Once they are given, they can no longer be given any more. Sure, they can continue to make us happy, or add value to our lives, but the gift itself is expired. It has been given. It can no longer be given again.

That is the nature of a gift.

except one gift.

The Father’s gift. The one He gave so many Christmas’ ago, on the first Christmas ever.

The gift of Jesus Christ. The Messiah.

That gift changed everything… it took a world, destined for depravity, hell bent on destroying itself, and set it on a new course. It’s new course was one of restoration, redemption and reconciliation. The gift of Jesus gave the world a new identity, that would forever change the way it spun on its axis.

Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving.

Stay with me now. If Jesus had been a gift cut out of the mold of the kind we give on Christmas’ all around the world, it would have been a one time thing. If God had intended it to be a one time gift, He would have accomplished all of it’s intended purpose in the moment it was given. That’s one of the things that makes this gift so unique. It was given with the intended purpose of being a gift that we continue to receive for the rest of our lives.

Jesus came to begin a restoration process…
Jesus came to start the miracle of Redemption…
Jesus came to give us access to reconciliation with our creator…

Jesus didn’t put the world on auto pilot, He opened the door for a genuine experience of Himself.

This is outside of the way the human mind understands life, which is what makes it so hard for us to embrace. When we get a gift, we want it all now. We want it’s full potential to make our lives easier, and we don’t want to wait, we think we shouldn’t need to wait.

Yeah, God could have done that, but He didn’t, because this gift is not a thing, it is a person in that person comes the pathway to life, to grace, to hope. It is in relationship with Jesus that we find out what is worth living for. That we discover what we were designed for. This is the infinite gift of Christmas.

Because Jesus came to this earth…

We get to experience the process of God restoring all creation to its original created form.
We get to watch the beautiful story of redemption as it unfolds in our lives and others.
We get to discover the wild adventure of journeying toward the Holy one, experiencing the intimacy we were created to live in.

This is the gift that keeps on giving.

Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving.

The birth of the Christ child is an invitation calling us into this crazy adventure. No, it won’t transform you all at once. It won’t immediately wipe away your problems, or remove their consequences. That’s not what God wanted. If He did that, we wouldn’t see our need for that gift anymore.

No, instead this gift is beckoning you and I onto this journey… wanna accept it? Wanna start living into it? Wanna embrace it? It is what you were made for.

I pray Christmas 2016 would be the year you understand it, and step into it.

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