The What and Who of Christmas
Merry Christmas! What gifts are you hoping for this year? Maybe you’re tired of all the Christmas commercials already? It does get overwhelming when the Halloween costumes are next to the Christmas toys. Christmas continues to creep forward, finding its way closer to the front of the calendar, not content to stay in December. Maybe that’s good, if we can discover how the who and what of Christmas go together.
John the Baptist even checked on this, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting or should we look for someone else?” Jesus responds with a holistic gospel picture, “Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the dead are raised to life and the Good News is preached to the poor.” Maybe the what had gotten a little out of control for John, it was certainly a package that he had never unwrapped before—John was checking in again, are you really the one, Jesus?
Reflecting on this “Christmas” work, we think of 11-year-old Elias* pushing his cart full of bike pieces into our yard on Bike Repair Day. It didn’t look good, but out from behind the table came one of the mechanics with joy, “Let me see that! Oh yeah, we can do that!” Elias has not missed a Bible club tutoring time since, and with him each week come friends. He is helping with the set-up now, staying after for more basketball, and his face during the lesson is curious as he experiences the what and who of Jesus repairing and making things right, His Kingdom coming “on earth as it is in heaven.”
It’s praying with Damon* and watching him push into his faith in Jesus to open up the doors for him to go to another junior high because the one he attends has become violent to the point that administrators are having him do his work in the office. A week later, we rejoice with Damon and his parents at the door God opens for him to attend a public charter school started by Christians who believe following Jesus finds its way into opening a school that gives access to communities at risk.
These are the gifts we all want! We pray this season offers you time to reflect on the what and who of Christmas, to look at how Jesus is transforming lives around you, to live into His invitation and picture of the Gospel—one we can see both here and in eternity. Merry Christmas to you and your family! We celebrate Love and Jesus with you!
*Names changed for privacy.