Back to Basics – The Greatest Gift

The hope of Christmas is not found in a box covered in wrapping paper

by TJ Freeman – December 21, 2017

Do you remember the magic of Christmas? When I was a child I could hardly sleep on Christmas Eve because my mind was awake — filled with the hope of what I might find underneath the tree the next day. On Christmas morning, my sister and I would often wake up before daylight — and run down the hall to find presents of all shapes and sizes with our names written on the tags. Now — imagine yourself in that moment…
You run to the tree, pick out a present, pull of the bow — tear open the paper — lift open the box… and look inside to see… nothing there.

Hoping it was a fluke, you grab another package… go through the same routine… look inside to find…
NOTHING again! Box after box it’s the same story… A morning that started off with such hope and excitement ends with discouragement.

I hope you never had a Christmas like that, but I’ll bet your life has felt that way at times. You start off with excitement and anticipation, only to find that life can be more difficult than you realized. You look in all kinds of places for comfort and hope… but it seems like all you ever do is open empty boxes. A relationship that looked so promising falls apart. The job you were counting on is given to someone else. The big purchase you made didn’t satisfy you like you thought it would. Your marriage is on the rocks, your health is failing, you’re struggling with doubt or depression or loneliness.

No matter where you look…it seems anything you hope in is replaced by discouragement and pain.

Maybe this Christmas, you’re wondering if there is any true hope to be found, or will it all fade when the lights go out… and the tree is taken down… and the everyone goes home.

You’ve probably never received an empty box for Christmas. But, any gift you’ll ever open is sure to let you down. No matter what’s on the inside, it’s ability to satisfy you and meet your needs is only temporary. Toys get lost or broken, clothes gets old and worn out. Tools — and gadgets — and even cash, all have short lifespans and will eventually let you down.

But, the hope of Christmas is not found in a box covered in wrapping paper. But, it’s still a gift. It’s the greatest gift ever given.

The reason life is sometimes so hard is because of the presence of sin in the world. All the pain — all the grief — all the disappointment can be traced back to mankind’s rebellion against God. But, instead of punishing all mankind, God gave us a gift.

Isaiah 7:14 says it this way: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Immanuel — means God with us! God sent Christ to the world — as a baby — and ultimately a man — who lived perfectly on our behalf… and then died in our place — for our sins. If you’ll trust in Christ your problems won’t go away, but you’ll be forgiven for all your sin — and credited with the righteousness of Christ! And that hope will overshadow all of your disappointment…and carry you not only through the Christmas season, but for the rest of your life!

Don’t let this Christmas be like every other Christmas… keep your focus on Christ and be satisfied in Him — that’s what Christmas is all about!

Idea/Concept: TJ Freeman
Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: TJ Freeman

Produced by Vogt Media
Funded by Sherwood Motel, UPMC Susquehanna

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