Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Sparkle Of Christmas

The word sparkle is a fascinating word for me. It brings several images to mind. For instance, I still remember as a boy, going outside one Christmas Eve after a fresh snowfall, and seeing the surface of the snow sparkle in the reflection of our porch light. Growing up in upstate New York brought plenty of white Christmases. I remember the sparkle of all the Christmas lights that were on the bushes outside our house, as they glimmered across the surface of the white snow. Christmas was and still is, a special time of year for me.

To me, Christmas is about family. It’s a time when most people want to be together with the ones they love. Remember the song, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas?” There’s a line in the song that says something like, “I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.” It’s such a high priority for most people to be with family that the Christmas season is one of the most busiest travel times of the year. “Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go.”

Many have what they call family traditions on Christmas. A family tradition is a particular way of doing things that is repeated each year. You probably are involved in one yourself. My family has a tradition of making homemade gifts. We started in 2005. Each person must make a gift for each person in the family. It’s turned into so much fun, mainly because we usually aren’t very good at it. Before we open our gifts, there is usually a disclaimer - sometimes the gift is unfinished, or didn’t turn out right, and is a flop. Regardless, we laugh and have such a good time opening our gifts. I suppose the sparkle of Christmas can be seen in my family’s eyes as we share such good times together. And if you look really close, you’ll see a sparkle in my eyes, as I reflect on such wonderful, fond memories.

Yes, Christmas is about family, and just as we as parents are fond of our family, God the Father is fond of His family. He sees us as His children, His family. That’s because God chose to adopt us! He chose to adopt us as His very own children. Here’s a great Christmas verse, even though it’s not in the Christmas story, that teaches what God has done......

Galatians 4:4-7
But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”

According to this verse, when the right time came (Christmas), God sent His Son (Jesus), born of a woman (Mary). He sent Him to buy freedom for us (redemption) - so that He could adopt us as His “very own children”, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”  This word “Abba” is an Aramaic word. Aramaic was the common language of the day for Jews, and Abba is an intimate, affection expression for Father. It’s like saying Daddy. It’s the type of relationship God wants with us - a father/child relationship. And He is the perfect father.

So I suppose the real sparkle of Christmas is the sparkle that is in God’s eyes when He looks at His family, His children. Just as the sparkle is in a mother’s eyes when she first sees her new born child, or the sparkle is in a couple’s eyes as they are reciting their marriage vows, there is a sparkle in God’s eyes as he looks upon us as His children, Yes, God’s eyes glisten when He looks upon us, His children, His family. We are the “apple of His eye.” In His sight, we are to Him, most highly valued, most cherished, most treasured, and most loved.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).

Our Father looks upon us with a gleam in His eye - that’s because He loves His family. Nobody loves his family more than God loves His. Nobody loves his children more than God loves His. And our Father shows His love by His mercy, His grace, His forgiveness, and His salvation.

And He is such a gift-giver! Every good and perfect gift is from above.” (James 1:17). He gives us Grace.......“Because of the overflowing grace God has given to you, thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!” (2 Cor 9:14-15).

He gives us Peace........“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27).

And ultimately, He gives us Eternal Life........“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).

So why is God such a gift-giver? The answer: LOVE. “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10). 

God's most precious gift to us is His Son. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

There’s a common saying for Christians around this time of year. It’s this: “Jesus is the reason for the season.” That’s very true, but I want to take that one step further. Looking at the big picture, the real reason for the season is.... YOU!  For you are the reason that God sent His son to earth. You are the reason for Christmas. God wants to adopt you as His son, so He can be your Father - your Abba Father, and it took Jesus to come to earth to do it. In the world’s eyes, Christmas is about a lot of different things, but in God’s eyes, you are what Christmas is all about. You are the reason Jesus came to earth, therefore, “You are the reason for the season”. And if you are one of His, when God looks at you, there is a sparkle in His eye. That’s the sparkle of Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. looking forward to seeing the video. thanks for sharing!