Christmas Is The Birth Of Grace

Manger

If you ask most people why we celebrate Christmas to a man they will say it is to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Even a staunch atheists has to relent that Christmas was established to celebrate the birth of Christ. They may not like it, but that’s the deal.  Now of course there are those out there that will argue that December 25th is not the exact date of His birth and that it’s actually in October and if you celebrate in December God will make you an umpa lumpa and will hate you forever.  I honestly don’t concern myself with that too much because it’s waste of energy.  Let’s face it, if for one day each year the world focuses their attention back to Christ (even if just for a second or half heartily) and because of that gets people to perhaps step into a church for the one time a year to hear of what Christ did then it’s worth it whatever day it landed on.  I mean, I highly doubt that when we get to heaven God is going to shake his finger at us, take away our grace card stained with Jesus’ blood, and tell us to stand in the corner because we were celebrating on the wrong date.  Just seems to be a little outside the character of God if you ask me.

I digress.

The disciple John has an interesting way of describing Christmas.

“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14 (NIV)

When my children were born I got to see what a beautiful, developed human life looked like.  There were fingers, toes, hair (yes Hunt’s have hair at some point), and life was pouring out of them with each cry.  Yet I also saw other things born.  I saw joy, soul expansion, and a new level of love.  You see with a birth of a baby comes things we see the describable and the indescribable.

In that manager thousands of years ago that same beautifully developed human life was on display.  It was void of the beeping of monitors, doctors in scrubs, and over priced meals, but nonetheless a baby was born.  Those same indescribable side benefits of joy and love were felt too, but as Jesus was held in the arms of His mother out of him poured something that no other baby could offer.

Grace.

It was His grace that when fully developed would save the entire world.

John uses the Greek word “charis” which means “merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.”  Found within that baby boy was the solution to the sin of the world.  It is grace that would pour out of his hands, feet, and sides.  It is grace that would drip down His face as He prayed for His father to take this cup from him (Luke 22:44, NIV).  It is grace that would look upon the faces of sinners and see them for who they were in the eyes of the Father and not in the eyes of the world.  It is grace that would forgive the prostitute, play with children, and heal the blind.  And it was not just a small amount of grace, but an uncontainable amount.

John tell us that, “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”  – John 1:16 (ESV)

It was grace upon grace that was born at Christmas.

So yes, we remember the manager and the cast of characters present at the birth of Christ, but may we also stare deeply into the eyes of this small boy and remember that found within Him was what would save the world.  That behind the frailty of this little body was the unstoppable gift of grace found in Him.  A grace that saved a wretch like me and that wipes my sins as white as snow.

So celebrate Him for His birth, but worship Him for His grace.

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3 Gifts Your Wife Doesn’t Need This Christmas

no-bad-gifts

Christmas is rapidly approaching and men all over the world are scrambling to get things for their wives. Last minute websites are being scoured and raiding of closets trying to find the right size of clothes without having to ask is taking place. Men are talking to other men with the same intense and painful topic of conversation being; “What are you getting your wife for Christmas?”In many desperate cases purchases will be made that are more expensive than originally planned just to throw a little bling at them and hopefully throw them off the scent of your procrastination. Others will go for quantity and wrap up as much stuff as they can, praying that the pile of presents will distract them from the mound of guilt that has piled up on the guy’s shoulders. It is madness I tell you!

After over a decade of marriage I’ve realized and given in to the fact that my wife LOVES to get her own presents so I’ve stopped even trying. Now I don’t recommend this technique to other men (only if you have a wife that is wired this way), unless you want to sleep on the couch in the garage until Easter. However, before you start Googling “Desperate Gifts For a Lazy Husband”consider some things that we give our wives all the time, but that they can do without.

#1 – Don’t Get Her the Gift of Laziness

At Christmas I see guys checkout for various reasons. Some will blame it on the weather, others on their wife’s need to have the perfect holiday, others on the fact that they feel they are just in the way most of the time. So what we decided is that we will give our wife the gift of space in the form of doing nothing. While space can be good, sitting on your “space saver”watching football while wiggling your toes in that annoying manner is not good. This Christmas consider giving your wife the gift of engagement. Ask her how you can help and then follow through. Ask her what is on her list and how you can take things off her plate. Ask her if you can take the kids for an afternoon so she can get to the things she needs to get done without distractions. Talk with your wife about how she is doing and find out where you can ease her load even just a little. A little less football will not kill you, but your wife may if you don’t get it in gear.

#2 – Don’t Get Her the Gift of Guilt

My fellow husbands, Christmas can be draining on our wives for so many reasons. Some are discussed above, but other times our wives are drained because they want things to be perfect for the family. This means that how things look, where things hang, when dinner happens, and the traditions that we do as a family are very important. This is not the time to mention that you feel neglected or that you never have time for each other. This is like wrapping up a smoldering pile of guilt and letting her open it every day. Instead of piling on guilt, find a way this year to understand more about WHY these things are important. It may have to do with her traditions and how important Christmas was to her. It may be because she had a crummy Christmas time growing up and she doesn’t want to repeat that pattern. Whatever the reason, maybe try to understand and sympathize. Sarcasm and guilt won’t make things better, but understanding and appreciation will help.

#3 – Don’t Get Her the Gift of Spiritual Responsibility

I’m going to let you in on a quick secret. Christmas is not really supposed to be about presents and bad smelling cologne that you pretend to like from your Aunt Georgina just to keep the peace. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus. The savior of the world. The King of Kings. The Lord of Lords come to save the world from sin. THAT Is what Christmas is all about. Men, when we leave the responsibility of keeping our families focused on that to our wives solely we are abdicating a major responsibility in the home. On top of that, we are strapping one more weight onto the spirits of our wives for them to carry around. Men, this Christmas step up and keep Christ in Christmas. (Ok, I went there, but it’s really true!) We need to be the ones that push pause before the ravenous kids unwrap their presents and reflect on why we are doing what we are doing. Take a few moments and read Luke 2 out loud. Before you eat dinner, pray with your family and thank God for Jesus this time of year. Decide which Christmas Eve service you are going to as a family (prior to the night before) instead of making your wife drag you to one. This year make the decision that the spiritual pulse of Christmas will start with you. Of course allowing your wife to be an integral part of it is crucial, but take the initiative to lead your family well this year and I guarantee you will see your wife light up.

So before you go out and buy your wife a bunch of stuff she really doesn’t want, consider the things that she really does need from you. Think about how you can let your wife enjoy Christmas this year instead of enduring it. Be a part of centering your family onto the real reason for all of this madness each year and I know she will not be in line on December 26th wanting to return it.

Merry Christmas men!

Now go be a great husband to your wife.

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