A little while ago I met a lovely lady, who shared with such love in her eyes about the precious children she had adopted. They had been abandoned, no-one else wanted them because they weren’t babies. They were neglected, miserable, hopeless orphans … until the day she took them to their new home and began to love them unconditionally.
As I looked at the stunning photo she pulled up on her phone, it was so precious to see their beautiful, vibrant faces. Seeing their broad smiles, bright, shining eyes and cheeky expressions, it was plain to see they were restored and had blossomed almost beyond anything that might have been expected. You would never have known the desperate existence they had once lived.
What a wonderful reflection of the heart of our God, whose Gift of Love came down at Christmas to rescue us from the hopeless condition we were once in. What really struck me was that those children had clearly, wholeheartedly received and drunk in to the fullest extent the love that came to them. If they hadn’t, they would still have been unhappy and angry, surviving as victims, not living freely as children who were secure in the love of good parenting.
Christmas is the time we celebrate the greatest Gift that was ever given. It’s a time of giving and receiving. But so many of us find it easier to give than receive. Our heart aches to share Jesus, God’s Gift to us, with friends and family who are still in darkness and don’t know Him, but we can only give to the extent that we ourselves have received.
God’s Gift is for eternity, but it is also for here and now on earth, ‘In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.’ He came to bring Light into the shadows of our lives, where maybe we have gloom or doubts or fear, maybe for some real suffering, maybe even despair. And our heavenly Father asks the question, “Will you receive the Gift of My Love, My Light into the here and now on earth in your life? Will you allow the warmth of My Love close, to comfort you in the disappointments and heartaches, to bring my answers to your doubts and fears and insecurities? Will you receive My Gift into the shadows of struggles with sickness or ageing or worries for your family?”
As an earthly parent’s natural desire is for their child to receive their love and comfort, so our heavenly Father longs for us to receive the Gift of His Love, His Light into the deepest, darkest recesses of our hearts, so that like the children in the story, we are transformed, and then empowered to shine with the Light of Jesus from within, our very lives speaking out the truth of who He is to those around us who are in need, empty, lonely and looking for real answers to their struggles.
In the famous painting by Holman Hunt, ‘the Light of the World’, Jesus stands knocking on an overgrown and long, unopened door. Perhaps even now, as we celebrate the incarnation, God coming to earth as a baby, Saviour of the World, He is knocking on the door of your heart, waiting for you to open the door of any dark areas of your life to receive Him, the Gift of His Light, the Gift of His Love. “Will you let Me into your sadness, your struggles, your emptiness, your loneliness? Will you receive the Gift of my Love at a deeper level this Christmas? Will you let me show you the strength, the overcoming power of My Love?”
Prayer: Father God, thank You, thank You for sending Jesus. Thank You, Lord Jesus, that because of Your great love, You stepped down from Heaven into the mess of this world. Thank You that no matter what’s happened in my life, or what sadness or worries, or fears or anxieties I’m carrying, Your love is big enough. Nothing can separate me from Your love. Heavenly Father, would You help me this Christmas to receive the Gift of Your Love at a deeper level than ever before. I want to be one whose life shines out the Light of Jesus, the true and certain hope I have found in Him to those around me. Thank You, heavenly Father, In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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