Christmas 2021: The Perfect Gift at the Perfect Time

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16

As this year’s holiday season approached, media began sharing images of cargo ships parked off the coast unable to unload. Threats of supply chain disruption and shipping delays prompted announcements that we must “shop early” if we hoped to take delivery on gifts in time for the holidays. Some even went so far as to question if Christmas could be cancelled.

I immediately flashed back to childhood with a smirk, curious if these reporters had ever seen a classic holiday special. I grew up on animated threats of the holidays in peril, yet saved at the last minute by some fanciful change of heart. And, I mean, every Who down in Whoville knows you can celebrate without ribbons, tags, packages, boxes or bags, right?

But beyond the amusing nostalgia, I wondered if they knew of the circumstances surrounding the first celebration of Christ, when Jesus was born. He came in spite of, and even because of, the disruption of imperfect people throughout history, including those in his own family line. And His delivery on Earth would provide a far greater delivery every one of us needs.

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” -Galatians 4:4-5

This gift of God was presented to the world at just the right time, a child celebrated by shepherds, prophets and angels at His birth. He was born into a world that had largely forgotten and ignored God. But God still loved the world so much He came to be with us in the person of Jesus. His perfect life, death and resurrection were also precisely fulfilled, providing that way of redemption and adoption into God’s family for whoever believes in Him.

It’s been a while since that first delivery, but Jesus promises to return right on time again, this time to deliver the joyful restoration of our sadly broken world. Just like before, some wait with anticipation and some ignore Him altogether, but He continues to be patient with us. To quote 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” That is, we have this opportunity to trust Jesus over anything else, and to receive the ultimate change of heart that comes from knowing God’s love forever.

In this world, gifts might get stuck in transit. Plans might go right off the rails. But with Christ, the celebration can never be cancelled. As the holidays roll on, I pray you’ll know the joy of celebrating more deeply, anticipating the greatest gifts still to come in Jesus.

Scripture: ESV / Art: Unsplash.com

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