Glenn L. Schwanke
Age 7: “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, my two front teeth, see my two front teeth.”
Age 9: “I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!”
Age 16: “I want a 1968 Ford Mustang 428 Cobra Jet with the 335 hp V8 engine.”
Age 30: “I hope my husband goes to Jared and gets me a pair of earrings with the 18k yellow gold bead, topped by a pavé diamond dangle.”
Age 50: “Hon, let’s buy the Sun Tracker Party Barge 22 DLX, with the 60 ELPT FourStroke Command Thrust motor. It will be great fun for the grandkids next summer at the lake. Come on, hon, it’s only $23,995 at the no-hassle price!”
Age 64: “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth . . . and six more incisors, four canines, eight premolars, and eight molars. Let’s skip the wisdom teeth this time around.”
Is there anything on that list you want for Christmas, or is your wish list different? Don’t worry. Retailers will do their best to have the perfect gift for you this Christmas! Amazon and Amazon Marketplace alone carry more than 353 million products, including 64,274,875 for the home and kitchen. Their selection is so huge that some have called it “the endless shelf.”
But maybe this Christmas you realize you need something you can’t buy off of any endless shelf or find in a dentist’s chair. Maybe there’s a hole in your heart that nothing fills. An ache deep down that never goes away.
Maybe that’s because your life is broken . . . by addiction—and a new toaster-oven can’t fix that. By a failed marriage or a child who won’t talk to you anymore—and a driveway full of big boy toys or a weekend shopping spree can’t make it better.
The truth is, all of us are broken in one way or another—by sin. But sin’s consequences go much further than a deep-down ache, a guilty conscience, and sleepless nights. Sin’s consequences are eternal. Death. Hell. Can you even begin to imagine heartache that will never go away, because you are forever separated from the only one who is goodness, righteousness, mercy, and love?
But our heavenly Father doesn’t want that for any of us! That’s why his Spirit wrapped the perfect Christmas gift in flesh in the womb of Mary. And nine months later, Mary “gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger” (Luke 2:7). That same Christmas night, an angel shattered the quiet outside of Bethlehem when he announced to lowly shepherds, “Today in the town of David, a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
By inspiration, the apostle Paul glimpsed into the manger and saw what the little baby in swaddling clothes means for us all: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward mankind appeared, he saved us—not by righteous works that we did ourselves, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:4,5).
There’s nothing wrong with wanting a Red Ryder BB gun or some new teeth for Christmas, as long as you’re not greedy or selfish about it. And as long as you never forget the one Christmas gift all of us really need.
Contributing editor Glenn Schwanke, pastor at Peace, Houghton, Michigan, also serves as campus pastor at Michigan Technological University.
The Scripture references used in this article are from the Evangelical Heritage Version.
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Author: Glenn L. Schwanke
Volume 106, Number 12
Issue: December 2019
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