I was reading an open question forum the other day and one of the questions that was posted on there was, what is the first word that you think of when you think of the word Christmas? There were so many answers by readers of which words came first to mind. The top words that I saw recurring on the list was the words: Christ, tree, family, warmth, winter, snow, lights, Santa Claus, gifts, presents, Mary, Joseph, wise men, angels, baby Jesus. If I were to ask you the same question and get an unfiltered response, your answers would be most likely similar to the readers on the forum. Now it’s not a bad thing to think of these things, it’s just what comes to our mind first when we consider this holiday. If I changed my focus group and were asking a group of kids what is the first thought that came to their minds when they think of Christmas, the answer would undoubtedly be presents! The child inside us can also relate to them, one of the biggest things that most people look forward to in the holiday season is what gifts they will be getting during Christmas! We look forward to it so much because our loved ones are giving us something at no cost from the thoughtfulness of knowing what we like and what we look forward to.
I stumbled across an article on my news feed earlier last month about the story of Karisa Bugal and how she gave the ultimate gift to her son Declan. This is an excerpt from the article:
” During labor on Nov. 3, doctors discovered that Declan’s mother, Karisa Bugal, had a rare condition called amniotic fluid embolism. The amniotic fluids surrounding the baby or part of the baby’s skin or hair gets into the mother’s bloodstream and that causes catastrophic shutdown of all the organs. No one knows how to prevent it. No one knows how to keep it from happening. Medical experts say around 1 to 12 mothers in every 100,000 deliveries have amniotic fluid embolism. The condition is so rare it hasn’t been extensively studied. Many of the mothers who develop the condition do not survive. In Karisa’s case, the doctor explained to her the grim prognosis of amniotic fluid embolism during labor. Before Karisa experienced symptoms of the condition, doctors noticed her unborn baby’s heart rate started to dip, meaning his life was also at risk. Doctors say Karisa knew her decision would be critical, so she chose the fastest option, cesarean with anesthesia. She chose to have them perform the emergency C-section so Declan could be born, sacrificing her own body and ultimately her life to save his. It would be the last decision she would ever make. She eventually passed away.”
I’ve read that story so many times and each time I think how tough of a decision that is to make! Why is it that this story is so moving to us? It lingers in our head and messes with our emotions. It is so touching because we can all relate to it in some way. We all have had parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, close friends or even our own children whom we either have received or given a similar type of love. Even if you haven’t felt it, I’m here to tell you that someone has shown that undying love for us to the point of giving up their own life on our behalf. This is exactly what the story of Christmas is, not only the birth of Christ but more importantly his death and resurrection and what it means to us! Let’s take a quick look at a passage from Scripture where it describes that gift:
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
These verses give a very logical approach to sacrifice. It says that for a righteous person, there is a slight chance that someone may die for them. For a good person, there is a very slim chance that someone would die in their place. Even when considering the story of Karisa, we see that she had a motive and purpose behind her actions. She only died for Declan because that was her son, her own flesh and blood, who was completely innocent and had his whole life to look forward to! When we consider Christ and what he had done for us, it’s a very different story. Verse 8 says that God showed us his love by dying for us WHILE WE WERE SINNERS! That’s powerful! We were not righteous, we were not good! we weren’t even neutral or indifferent about God! In actuality, we hated him and completely rejected him!
In the gospels we read that as Christ carried the cross up to Calvary that the people mocked him, spit on him, and ridiculed him. They put on him a crown of thorns after flogging him and forced him to carry his own cross that he would later be crucified on! You may ask the question, how it relates to you? You weren’t among that crowd who did that to him. You weren’t even alive during his time. You were completely innocent of whatever happened to him. Pilate, who gave the order to have Christ crucified, thought the same thing but sadly that wasn’t the case. We read from the Bible that when God created man, he eventually fell to sin through the tempting of Satan. That sin nature didn’t just stop with him. It was carried from generation to generation to all the descendants of Adam, including us! We read from the Bible all the wrong doings of mankind. We look around us, watch the news, see our own families, and even ourselves and notice that sin is present! Even if we lived a flawless life, meaning never telling a lie, never stealing anything, never wanting something that belongs to someone else, never committing adultery in your heart, or never even thinking a bad thought about someone else, we still would be found guilty! Even if we were perfect, we still have been given that sin nature because of the sin of Adam! It affects us by separating us from God. We know from the Bible that God is holy and cannot even stand in the sight of sin and us being sinful people could not have any type of association with him. we needed someone to mediate between us and God on our behalf. That someone was Christ Jesus!
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
God sent his perfect son to die for an imperfect creation. That is the reason for the season! It is the free gift of God that has been given to all mankind so that we can be reconciled to him and have that relationship once again that used to be broken. All we have to do is accept that gift that is freely given to us! If you haven’t trusted in the Lord as your personal savior, he is calling out to you today asking admittance into your heart, all you have to do is let him in! We don’t know how long we have here on this earth and when we will pass away but one thing that we do know, is that, based on what choices we made will determine where we spend eternity. Now is the time for salvation, all you have to do is admit that you are a sinner who falls short of God’s holiness, believe that Christ died on the cross for your sins, and commit your life to service towards him. Nearly all of us have experienced the gift of love that our parents or loved ones show us and considering that, we have a heavenly father who offers us a much greater gift by having personal relationship with you, it will be the best choice you ever make!