Mark Fairweather Tall
The 'must-have' Christmas present
“Daddy, I would like that for Christmas…” so said one of my children, whilst pointing at the television screen in response to an advert before her programme started.
I am sure this will be, or has been, the experience of many a parent through the years. Year by year, advertisers seek to persuade both the young and the old about what the ‘must have’ gift for them will be this year.
It is interesting to see how that has changed through the years. In 1936 it was Monopoly; 1943 brought us the Slinky; by 1960 the Etch a Sketch was all the rage; the Rubik’s Cube presumably frustrated many on Christmas Day in 1980. By the late 80s, technology was well and truly taking over: 1989 was the year of the Game Boy; the Tamagotchi (digital pet you looked after) was hugely popular in 1997; and recent years have seen games consoles, smart phones and tablets as the ‘must have’ gifts.
According to Christians, there is only one ‘must have’ gift at Christmas – Jesus, the greatest gift of all time. The Bible tells us that the baby who has been born will be called ‘Immanuel’ which means ‘God with us’; God came in human form to live among us.
Why would God do this? At the heart of Christianity is the belief that God loves us and desires to be in relationship with us. All too often, we reject God’s way and choose our own and this breaks the relationship. We need someone to put us right with God.
Jesus came and showed us how we can live as part of the family of God. He taught us what this might mean and he was willing to die that we might be forgiven. It may be hard for us to understand how the death of Jesus releases power into the world making it possible for us to live new lives full of peace, hope and love. But many have discovered that this is so.
Jesus is the ‘must have’ gift for Christmas because the deepest needs of the human heart can be met through him. If we want to be loved, known and accepted for who we are; to experience peace, hope and love; then the wonderful news of Christmas is that this is possible because of Jesus. That really is something worth celebrating.