Illustration of traditional Christian Christmas Nativity scene with the three wise men going to meet baby Jesus in the manger.

So how’d y’all do…you know, with my challenge from last week? Remember, I challenged myself and those reading to give away six things leading up to Christmas.

Did you find it hard? Did you even do it?

Attempting to simplify by looking for things to give away can be harder than it sounds, that’s for sure. I know life’s busy and if you’re anything like me, maybe you intended to but forgot or never got around to it. Well shame on you. Kidding!Shame off you is what I meant.

By God’s grace, I surprised myself by 1) remembering and 2) making time to rise to the occasion and accept my own challenge. I cleaned house. (Not quite, but that’s not the point). I was able to compile a huge sum of clothes and shoes to donate and give away. I’m embarrassed to say it was actually hard. And I can’t for the life of me figure out what was so daggon hard about it. But it felt so good. It was freeing.

So, if you didn’t get a chance to do this last week, I’m challenging you again! Give some stuff away!

The older I get and the more I fall in love with Jesus, the more I appreciate and delight in the Christmas season for what it truly is. JESUS – the unfathomable goodness of a God who loves us more than words! It’s what differentiates Christianity from every other religion in the world. As Christians and as children of God, we receive the verdict before the performance. In other words, we don’t receive salvation or a clean slate through any of our works. It’s a FREE gift that can only be received. And just in case you didn’t know, Christianity is the only faith where God came to us. As a baby. Isn’t that absurd? I mean who does that? I never would’ve come back as a baby. Maybe as a fierce warrior cut up like Jean Claude Van Dam or perhaps as a lion or a dolphin (that would be sick)! But as a baby? No freakin way!

Have you ever thought about what it meant for Jesus to be a baby?

Like really, really thought about it? Jesus cried and pooped in his diaper. (Wait a second…there’s no way they had diapers back then. So he probably pooped in some sort of cloth.) He stumbled and fell as he learned to walk. He quite possibly may have even sucked his thumb. Crazy, right?

Don’t get me wrong…gifts are super cool to get at Christmas, but JESUS is even better! The greatest gift that has ever been given is always available to us (not just at Christmastime). And that gift is Jesus! No matter how much we screw up or how bad our past is, Jesus us always there for us! All we have to do is accept it!

Have you accepted the free gift of Jesus into your heart? If you haven’t, I highlyrecommend that you do. It’ll be the single greatest decision you will ever make! Guaranteed!

Jesus didn’t stay a baby. He grew up and became a man. He never once sinned (yes, that means he was as perfect as they come). And then He did the unfathomable again. He gave His life for us so that we could have eternal life. He made us right with God. He died on that cross and rose three days later. He annihilated death. And the word on the street is that HE’S COMING BACK!

Hebrews 9:28 says, “He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.”

I’ll close with this by Rick Warren, “One day our hearts will stop. That’ll be the end of our hearts, but it won’t be the end of us. We’ll last for eternity — trillions of years! And God wants you to be a part of his family.”

I pray this Christmas we can all remember that Jesus is the reason for the season! He’s the reason for every season.

He loves you and I more than we’ll ever know!

Merry CHRISTmas!

By Wells Thompson