In a December issue of a leading magazine the following ads were displayed:
“What greater treasure of Christmas could you give than sheets and pillowcases?”
“Crowning gift of all: Our lovebird scarf of Russian sable, $9000.”
“Christmas everywhere! And in America it’s— Cashmeres.”
Now, I’ve got to admit, I like sables, sheets, and sweaters as well as the next fella, but do these things really express the great “treasure of Christmas?”
The marketing team at Lakeside Shopping Centre are accustomed to the difficulty of getting the attention of a fickle shopping public. But recently, they vowed to do the impossible.
As part of a recent Christmas promotion, Lakeside’s research indicated that 11 percent of area parents had at least one impossible-to-buy gift request from their children. They took stock of many of those requests (things like “a pencil that does my homework for me” or “a trampoline to the moon”), then tasked five prominent British inventors to solve one of these seemingly impossible requests. Their resulting creations will be part of a massive giveaway.
So if a child wants to become a LEGO figure, certified LEGO builder Duncan Titmarsh will be at the ready. Confectioners at Smith & Sinclair have designed a suite of Wonka-esque candies that taste like a holiday dinner. And seamstress Charlotte Denn created a dress that can, with the pull of a string, turn its wearer into a princess.
“It’s a lovely truth that children and even adults will sometimes put impossible gifts on their Christmas lists,” said marketing manager Ben Leeson. “At…Lakeside you’ll find all your Christmas presents – even the seemingly impossible ones.”
These inventions are impressive, but at Christmas God did something truly impossible — he became human, walked among us, died for our sins, and then rose from the dead on the third day. In doing so, he met the deepest need of our heart, a need much deeper than just a new toy or gift.
For the true Christ-follower, in the real world today, eternity is not only a future “hope-so” possibility. It is the absolute, here-and-now reality of the present day!
Oh, and one more thing: God’s boundless divine creativity means even the things we seek that appear impossible are doable for him. Earthly acts of innovation or ingenuity are mere foreshadowing of God, who not only created the heavens and the earth, but will one day create a new heaven and a new earth.
When you get right down to it, John 3:16, called “the heart of the Bible; the gospel in miniature” by some, also expresses the true meaning of Christmas — the reason Jesus came into this world.
I know it may be old hand, but for a few moments, consider again these simple, powerful words:
God … the greatest Lover
So loved … the greatest degree
The world … the greatest number
That He gave … the greatest act
His only begotten Son … the greatest Gift
That whoever … the greatest invitation
Believes … the greatest simplicity
In Him … the greatest Person
Should not perish … the greatest deliverance
But … the greatest difference
Have … the greatest certainty
Everlasting life … the greatest possession
Isn’t that great?
While reading John 3 to her little daughter, a mother paused after the 16th verse and exclaimed, “Don’t you think that’s wonderful, dear?”
The child looked up in surprise and said, “No!”
Thinking she might have misunderstood, the mother repeated the question. Again the girl shook her head, saying, “Mommy, it would be wonderful if it were anyone else, but really, it’s just like God!”
Some years ago at a large theological conference, the guest speaker, a renowned pastor, theologian, and bible scholar, was asked what he thought was the most profound truth found in the Bible.
Surprisingly, the scholar did not quote John 3:16. Rather, he thought for a moment, then opened his mouth and said, “The most profound truth in the Bible is…” Then he sang, “Jesus loves me/This I know/For the Bible tells me so/Little ones to Him belong/They are weak but He is strong/Yes, Jesus Loves me/Yes, Jesus loves me/Yes, Jesus loves me/The Bible tells me so”.
This Christmas season, let’s all say with Clarence Macartney, “Shepherds, with your staves and shaggy coats, move over! Wise men, with your gifts — your gold, frankincense, and myrrh — move over please! Wondrous star, with your guiding radiance, move over and make room for me.”
If it were anyone else, it would be wonderful, but really “IT’S JUST LIKE GOD!”
“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
MOVE OVER AND MAKE ROOM FOR CHRIST! And while you’re at it, have a blessed Christmas!
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the Hillsboro Times-Gazette and the Wilmington News Journal. He is also the former Pastor of Faith Community Church in Hillsboro and Port William Church.