This is my favorite time of the year when we give thanks for the many blessings of life and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s a time when we gather with family and friends. We enjoy the biggest feast of the year: turkey, dressing and all the fixings. Immediately after Thanksgiving, we put up the Christmas tree, the lights, the wreaths, and the Hallmark villages. Before we know, it our house looks like Christmas land.
But what if all of those things we enjoy disappeared? What if it all became so secular that it lost its meaning? Giving thanks and celebrating the birth of the King is at the heart of Christianity. We would have no one to thank and nothing to celebrate if it wasn’t for Jesus Christ. And yet our nation that was founded on God is wandering far from God.
The decline of Christianity in the United States continues at a rapid pace. It seems many are so busy enjoying their blessings that they’re blind to what’s going on around us. According to Pew Research, 65% of American adults identify as Christians, which is a 12% decline in the last decade. Now keep in mind, just identifying as a Christian doesn’t make you one. Today over 26% of American adults identify as atheists, agnostics or nothing in particular, which is up 17% since 2009. And the number of the non-religious are escalating, not declining.
So here’s the question.
What should we give to Jesus this year on His birthday?
I believe an honest answer to that question is simple and undeniable. He wants US!
- He wants US to not be conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of our mind.
- He wants US to walk by faith and not by sight.
- He wants US to trust in Him with all of our heart and not lean on our own understanding.
- He wants US to be a light in the midst of darkness, a voice crying out in the wilderness, a life radiating the love of Jesus.
- He wants US to love as He’s loved us, to give as He’s given to us and to forgive as He has forgiven us.
- He wants US to balance grace and truth and to go into all the world sharing the gospel and setting captives free.
- He wants US to surrender to His Lordship, to take up our cross daily and follow Him.
What would happen this Christmas if we were God’s gift to the world? What would happen if every morning we woke up and said, "Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do, and wherever you want me to go, I’ll go!" If we did so, what would happen in our lives, our homes, God’s church and the Triad?
During that first Christmas, the Bible says “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) In other words, Mary treasured the things that the shepherds had said and thought about them often. This Christmas, may we treasure all the things that God has said, and focus on the truth that God wants US. When we surrender to Him daily, we’ll experience the love, joy and peace that only He can provide. And we’ll not only have a Merry Christmas, but we’ll have a happy New Year.
Let’s live for the King and His Kingdom,