The Essence of Christmas
Words from Jesus
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“For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”—John 6:38–401
I became poor so that you might become rich. My incarnation—the essence of Christmas—was a gift of infinitely great value. However, it impoverished Me immeasurably! I gave up the majestic splendors of heaven to become a helpless baby. My parents were poor, young, and far away from home when I was born in a stable in Bethlehem.
I performed many miracles during My lifetime, but they were for the benefit of others, not Myself. After fasting forty days and nights in the wilderness, I was tempted by the devil to turn stones into bread. But I refused to do this miracle, even though I was so hungry. I lived as a homeless man for years.
Because I was willing to experience a life of poverty, you are incredibly rich! My life, death, and resurrection opened the way for My followers to become children of God and heirs of glorious, eternal riches. My abiding Presence is also a precious gift. Celebrate all these amazing gifts with gratitude and overflowing joy…
Christmas is the time to exult My miraculous incarnation, when the Word became flesh and dwelt among you. I identified with mankind to the ultimate extent—becoming a Man and taking up residence in your world. Don’t let the familiarity of this astonishing miracle dull its effect on you. Recognize that I am the Gift above all gifts, and rejoice in Me!
Clear out clutter and open up your heart by pondering the wonders of My entrance into human history. View these events from the perspective of the shepherds, who were keeping watch over their flocks at night. They witnessed first one angel and then a multitude of them lighting up the sky, proclaiming: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth Peace among those with whom He is pleased!” Gaze at the Glory of my birth, just as the shepherds did, and respond with childlike wonder.2
The core of My being
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.”—1 John 4:16–173
Christmas is best enjoyed when it isn’t centered on decorations, gifts, or festivities, but on love. Love is the essence of Christmas. Christmas is about cherishing and celebrating the love you share. Sadly, love can get lost amidst the Christmas hustle and bustle, the decorations and gifts, the endless shopping, and the Christmas dinner and parties.
Christmas is a time for festivities, but there’s so much more to it than that. It was love for you that brought Me into the world, to live and die for you. Love was, and still is, the core of My being. Everything I have done has been out of love for you. I did it for everyone who has ever lived or ever will, but I would have done it for you alone. You mean that much to Me!
Enjoy the festive decorations, the scrumptious food, and the gift-giving, but don’t let those overshadow or distract you from the best and most important thing, the only thing that will last for eternity, the essence of Christmas—love.
A season for love
“Behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”—Luke 2:104
Christmas is “the season of joy” and “a time of cheer.” But as Christmas comes around, do you find yourself experiencing things far from joy and cheer? If you look at each Christmas as needing to be bigger and better than the last, you’re probably anxiously filling up every moment with preparations toward that goal. But sometimes less is more.
The less you worry about creating the “perfect” Christmas, the more time you’ll find to enjoy it. The less stressed and pressured you are, the more happiness and joy will fill the time you and your loved ones spend together.
Christmas is about taking quality time with your family and friends; it’s about cherishing and celebrating the love you share and the greatest gift ever given to humanity. It was My love for you that brought Me to earth and gave Me the impetus to walk your world and be one of you, to live and die for you. Focus on My love this Christmas and enjoy a truly fulfilling occasion!
Christmas gift exchange
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. ... This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”—1 John 4:7, 9–105
The first Christmas was My Father’s gift of love to the world, but it was also His gift to you personally.
For those who saw it firsthand—the star, the choir of angels, the baby in the manger—it was an unexpected and overwhelming spiritual experience. For the blessed few who recognized that baby as their Messiah, it was a dream come true. For them and the many millions since who have likewise believed, it has been the door to eternal life. And it’s the same today. If you celebrate Christmas in spirit and in truth, the same wonder, the same promise, and the same unspeakable joy can all be yours.
But now Christmas is more than that. It’s more than a gift from My Father’s heart to yours—it’s a gift exchange. It’s a special time for you as you soak in My love and relive the wonder of the first Christmas, but it’s also special for Me in that you take more time to love and thank and praise Me for all I’ve done for you. So if you’re wondering what to give Me this Christmas, let’s make this Christmas special by giving each other the best of all gifts—love.
Published on Anchor December 2019. Read by Jon Marc. Music from the Christmas Moments album. Used by permission.
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