Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Gifts

As my mom and I were planning our Christmas dinner, I couldn’t help but think of some of my loved ones across the ocean.

We had a Christmas party for our kids. I always loved seeing them perform. You can check out one of the songs they sang:

Aren't they great? I keep watching it on repeat. I miss those little faces so much.

After the kids came back from their Christmas holiday, they would all be bursting with excitement to tell us everything. There were no talks of toys. No one exclaiming about the latest gadget they received. Instead, it was excited cries of …“chicken!!”. Meat is such a delicacy in Uganda and too expensive for many to buy. For Christmas, it is a treat to have chicken.

As I would catch up with each of the kids, I always noted the quiet ones. When I would ask them about Christmas, there would be a hesitance. I would ask them if they had also eaten chicken for Christmas. Eyes cast down, they would shake their heads “no”. For some, Christmas was just another day where even the daily rice and beans was too much to pay for.

I’ve mentioned before how I feel like I live two lives. I see this world here: full of Christmas decorations, the holiday hustle and bustle and shopping for the latest must-have item. But I know of a different world; the one where my heart remains. A world full of beautiful dark skin, big brown eyes and the whitest smiles you’ve ever seen. A world where luxury is considered to be a bite of chicken.  

Ah, but the most luxurious gift of all is the one that baffles me the most.

When I try to visualize God, I picture a big throne; an intimidating scene, really. In my mind, I can never make out what He looks like…just big. He is All-Powerful. He is Almighty God.

Christmas is a time that takes my visual and changes it into something almost unbelievable:

The All-Powerful Almighty God fitting inside the womb of a woman. The Creator God, the One who created the world in seven days, becoming one of His creations. It’s just unreal. It doesn’t make sense. It’s counter cultural in so many ways. Why would someone powerful ever become lower than even those that serve them? Even more, why would the Almighty God lower Himself to not only be with us but to become one of us?

Oh, but He knew.  He knew that in order for the greatest gift of all to be given that the ultimate sacrifice had to be made. The most luxurious gift of all would cost Him a fortune but would be freely given.

“But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.” (Rom 6:23b)

Our faults are many. We are undeserving. Our sins have earned us death.  The most expensive gift can’t be bought. It can’t be earned. I can’t work hard enough. I can’t be “good enough”.  This gift doesn’t care where you were born. It doesn’t care how much money you have.

Let us all stop and remember what we are celebrating. Let us worship our King, our Creator, our Savior. Let us be thankful for the gift that He has given us.

Merry Christmas!

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