Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Gift

He went from commanding angels to sleeping in the straw. From holding stars to clutching Mary’s finger Why? Because it’s what love does. Max Lucado
My family and I watch a fairly new show on Hallmark called Signed, Sealed, Delivered and it follows a team of quirky postal workers who call themselves the” Postables” as they try  to deliver letters and packages that have gotten lost. They work in the Dead Letter Office of the United States Post Office and are like an FBI team making sure all the lost letters find their way home. The storylines are inspirational and heartwarming. The characters are well developed and unusual and each show leaves you feeling uplifted. But my favorite part of the show is that they do not shy away from talking about faith and God; and their Christmas special was jam packed with the real message of Christmas.
At one point in the show they are putting on a last minute Christmas pageant and one of the characters says, “In all the busyness we forgot the most important thing of all.” They had forgotten to get a baby Jesus. And as my mom said the night we were watching it, “what a reflection of society.” We get so caught up in the season that we forget the most important part sometime.
Last week I wrote about preparing your heart for Christmas. This week my message is simple: accepting Christmas. Full, unconditional Christmas, in the form of love. I have to quote Max again because he is just a wordsmith among writers and I don’t think I could do it any better. He reminds us that Jesus “humbled himself. He went from commanding angels to sleeping in the straw. From holding stars to clutching Mary’s finger.
Why? Because it’s what love does. It puts the beloved before itself [… ] Your place in Heaven was more important than His place in Heaven, so he gave up His so you could have yours” (Lucado 88).
It becomes clear as the show progresses that one of the characters is an angel. His words of wisdom ring true as he walks each of the other characters through the things they are wrestling with in their life. At one point he delivers a great line that has stayed with me ever since. He says, “Christmas is a gift. You have to choose to accept it.”
He isn’t talking about shiny bows or packages. He isn’t talking about a present you can buy in a store. The gift of Christmas covers a multitude of presents: peace, joy, hope, freedom and love. And most importantly: salvation.  Your attitude, your perception and your full acceptance of Christmas is up to you. The talented Josh Turner teamed up with Missy Robertson of Duck Dynasty last year to sing a song called Why I Love Christmas and there is a line in the song that I absolutely love that says “when I see all the presents and boxes and pretty bows, I picture baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes.” There’s your Christmas right there.
I think another thing I love about Signed, Sealed, Delivered is that the lost letters represent people. Each one has a story. Often it’s not about a physical piece of paper, but something much deeper. And I think maybe it’s a great illustration of all of us. I think a lot of times we get off course or our address gets rubbed off and we don’t reach our desired destination. We arrive at our own Dead Letter Office waiting and hoping that we will eventually be delivered. Our journey gets delayed and we need someone to help us find our way.
And there is someone; someone who was delivered Himself a long time ago, so that He could one day deliver us. He doesn’t work at the post office, but His specialty is finding lost or forgotten or discouraged hearts and bringing them home again.
At the end of the show, Oliver O’Toole walks into the empty Dead Letter Office and finds that it has been transformed with Christmas decorations. He has been struggling with being alone and facing a hard holiday by himself, but is reminded that Christmas is in fact a gift to do with it what he will. There is a card on the tree that reads: “Here’s the tree. The rest is up to you.”
It's like I can hear God whispering: Here’s the Messiah—the rest is up to you. Here’s Christmas—the rest is up to you. Here’s the offer. Here’s the opportunity. The absolute rest is up to you.
One of our pastors today described it this way. “What is Christmas? It’s the story of a Father who gave His children not what they wanted, but what they needed. A Savior (Dino Rizzo). What will you do with the gift?
-Only Hope- Merry Christmas Everybody!
Lucado, Max. In the Manger. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012. Print. 25 Inspirational Selections for Advent.

No comments:

Post a Comment