Focus on the Gift

Written by cycleguy on December 10th, 2010

Have you heard the story about the little girl who came home one Sunday waving a paper?  “Mommy!” she said.  “My teacher says I drew the most unusual Christmas picture she has ever seen!” The mother studied the picture for a moment and concluded it was indeed a very peculiar Christmas picture.  “This is wonderfully drawn, but why have you made all these people riding on the back of an airplane?” the mother gently asked.“It’s the flight into Egypt,” the little girl said, with a hint of disappointment that the picture’s meaning was not immediately obvious. “Oh,” the mother asked cautiously.  “Well, who is this mean-looking man at the front?” “That’s Pontius, the Pilot,” the girl said, now visibly impatient. “I see.  And here you have Mary and Joseph and the baby.”  Studying the picture silently for a moment, she summoned the courage to ask, “But who is this fat man sitting behind Mary?”

The little girl sighed.  “Can’t you tell?  That’s Round John Virgin!”

I know, I know, that is b-a-a-a-a-a-d. But the sad truth is that little girl’s mixed-up perspective of Christmas is not much different than the notions many carry around today.  I am not here to take potshots at people or their customs/traditions.  I am beyond caring whether a family talks about Santa, the North Pole, Rudolph, and all the other stuff of Christmas.  I DO CARE when Christ-followers lose sight of the purpose for Christmas but then again, it is not for me to judge another.  It is my purpose to remind and encourage.  I cringe of the time when I was a younger pastor and thought I knew it all.  I preached against Santa.  Said stupid things like “If you mix Santa’s name up it spells SATAN. ”  How dumb is that?  If it hadn’t been for my mother-in-law’s fun at Christmas, I don’t know if my girls would have ever heard about Santa.  What a kill-joy I was.  🙁

But, at the same time, Christmas is certainly more than presents & things some will never wear or some will wear or play with once.  Advent Conspiracy Week #3 follows “Worship Fully” and “Spend Less” with “Give More.”  I know it is a hackneyed phrase to say it since you have probably said/heard it a bazillion times but the gift of Christmas is why we celebrate.  Several years ago I started thinking about that saying, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”  It dawned on me that saying is not true.  Truth be known: we are the reason for the season; Jesus is the meaning of the season.”  it was because of our sin that He came.  That was His reason for coming.  Someone had to die for the sin of mankind (and it is not because it is a dirty planet).   He came to die for our sins and to give us HOPE.

The Names of Jesus give a vivid picture of that.  Check out these words from Isaiah 9:6:

“For to us a son is born,

to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and his name shall be called

WONDERFUL COUNSELOR,

MIGHTY GOD,

EVERLASTING FATHER,

PRINCE OF PEACE.”

As so many preachers do, I am going to take each one of those names and show how they offer HOPE.  I would certainly appreciate your prayers for me and the church community I minister to.  This is a tough time for many and the names of Jesus have the power and potential to change lives.  Thanks.

One question: which name of Jesus means the most to you? Thanks to Dan for the banner.

 

22 Comments so far ↓

  1. Michael says:

    Father means the most to me.

    Praying for you guys.

  2. I went through the entire list of the names of God just now and could not get past – FATHER.
    A holy, strong, mighty protector and a gentle, loving Papa. I am safe in His arms. I don’t need to be strong, I am His delight and His princess. In a world of pain this truth makes all the difference to me.

  3. jay sauser says:

    Not really gonna comment about the names of Jesus, but in regards to keeping “Christ in Christmas” this year I have been doing a reading plan that Pete Wilson posted on Dec. 1 in order to do just that.

    http://withoutwax.tv/2010/12/01/rediscovering-christmas/

  4. lindaM says:

    Hi Bill,
    The names for me are ‘Everlasting Father and Mighty God’.

    I had a some moments of fear yesterday. I availed myself of the might name of ‘JESUS’ to get a handle on it. After a couple of minutes or so the fear left.

    I feel like I touch just the tiniest tip of a huge, huge resource in God for the needs of believers. I wish I had more of Him.
    In our dark hours this is when we call upon His name. He gives us hope and strength.
    I believe there is a part to play in meditating on our errors and trying to understand them. But then, we must use the sword of Jesus to put those errors under us. Take what we have learned about ourselves and others and go forward. No point in lying on our side like a dead fish.

    God has great glory for those who will persist in faith. The Bible says that we will be overflowing with Joy at his appearing.

    In this world believers have a future and a coming hope in Jesus Christ. My determination is to stay on his side with all my strength and being. With God’s help I will finish this race and receive my reward he has prepared for me.
    God Bless.

  5. Ike says:

    “SOVEREIGN”. If “I” had anything to do with being saved….I would still love my sin and hate the God of the Bible (Romans). Praying.

    P.S. I guess I won’t put cookies and hot chocolate out this year for santa.

  6. lindaM says:

    Hi Bill,
    For some reason this Christmas I feel like it is a season for Joy. Joy for what the Father has done. Joy for the gift of the wonderful Son of God and Joy because there is Hope.

    There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. God tells us the end of the story. He fortells what is going to happen in the coming days. He says in his Word, I am God. I have told you about the beginning and I have told you about the end. What other God has done this? He asks.

    He tells us, you will rise from the dead and be given a new immortal life.
    He tells us the wicked will be judged and purged from the earth.
    He tells us there is an amazing place that we are destined for if we continue unmoved in the faith.

    He says these are my Promises. You can trust me. You will not be ashamed on that day.

  7. Bill, As ever, another solid post. You feed my spirit.

    ps: Don’t let the Mormons know Jesus is also Everlasting Father. And don’t let the Jehovah’s Witnesses know He is also Mighty God.

    Consider this brief foray into sarcasm my “Christmas present” to you, Bill. Enjoy.

    Now to see if anyone actually caught these references.

  8. “Everlasting Father”

    This season everybody seems a little more receptive to hearing the true meaning of Christmas…we should be ready to share a few of those names.

    Great thoughts bro’

  9. Craig says:

    And yes Virginia, that is a baaaaaaaad joke – but funny. And Bill, I remember well the time I used to know everything too – then everything expanded and I didn’t.

    And the name that means most to me – I’m just very into Our Lord, My Lord. It has been singing to me for a year or so now. Places me in the right place between friend of God, and worshiper of God.

    Merry Christmas Bill

  10. I’m a bit flexible, but picky in some ways. When my kids were small, I never told them about anything except Jesus, b/c I knew when they started pre-school they would be told all the other stories.

    I was right.

    I’m still pretty non-santa-ing in decorations… a number of nativity sets instead … but I don’t fuss about the others except, recently, “Christmas Gnome.”

    But, my opinion, we need to stay as focused as possible with all the fluster and fluttery stuff that pours around us.

    • cycleguy says:

      caryjo: It is so good to have you visit my site. I checked out yours and made a comment on one of them. I agree with you that we need to stay focused with all that is around us. I am attempting to do that with myself and the church. thanks for coming by and commenting.

  11. Jan Frame says:

    Everlasting Father. This is very powerful to me, it makes me feel safe, unconditionally loved & lets me know I have a heavenly father I can count on all the time.
    Funny joke!
    YOu know what gets me angry at this time of the year? When I see signs with XMAS! That really gets me, I wonder what in the world people celebrate at Christmas if they X out Christ’s name!
    Great post Bill.
    Will e-mail you later about which Sunday we can head your way.
    Have a great Monday!

Leave a Comment