When you get a text message from a friend on holidays, you expect they’re rubbing in the fact that they’re on holidays, and you’re not. Yes, it could be they just want to share something special with you (but I suspect it’s the former).

Anyway, this week my friend landed in New Zealand and immediately sent me a message with a picture. The message read “Front page of the local paper here in NZ”. The picture carried the headline: “Mum asks school to take Christ out of Christmas.”

Now, I admit to being a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas. There are certain things I would take out of Christmas as well:

  • I would take the grief revealed in an empty chair at the Christmas table out of Christmas;
  • I would take all the sins that have contributed to family breakdown out of Christmas;
  • I would remove all the accusations and condemnations gathered over the years fout of Christmas;
  • I would take all those insecurities that arrive with visiting, or being visited, out of Christmas;
  • I would take materialism out of Christmas.

But I would never take The Gift out of Christmas.

If we took Christ – The True Gift – out of Christmas, I expect that Aussies would still find a way to have days off. However, those days would still contain grief, be marred by sin, find accusative tones, bring insecurities and leave the materialist with less than the Gift. The problems would remain with no answer, and to such days we could add frustration and disappointment.

And so, I struggle to understand why anyone would want Christ taken out of Christmas:

His resurrection fills that empty chair with hope for the grieving.

That’s a gift.

His death on the cross offered forgiveness for sins and a fresh start with God and each other.

That’s a gift.

His forgiveness ends all accusation and silences condemnation bringing peace between God and people.

That’s a gift.

His grace to the undeserved removes insecurity offering the assurance of a secure future with God.

That’s a gift.

And when this gift is received it takes materialism out of Christmas and puts back the gift that brings gratitude.

That’s a gift.

I recently suggested to students and parents that a great gift for Christmas would be a copy of the first chapter of Colossians. (I suggested it need not be the only present, and they all looked relieved.) Colossians is a letter published in the Bible’s New Testament. In its first chapter, it tells how God the Father is committed to freeing us from the dark things that rule over us. It tells us how God desires to place us with Jesus, who pays the cost of our forgiveness. These are gifts we don’t deserve, but God desires us to have.

God desires to free us from the dark things that rule over us.

Staggeringly these gifts come with an extended warranty into eternity. This isn’t surprising when the One guaranteeing the gift is the One who created all things, and defeats death by rising from it.

What a gift! What a Guarantor! It’s The Gift at Christmas.

Immanuel, God with us. Jesus, the one who saves us from our sins. Christ, the King who rules.

What a Gift! 

God with us, God for us, God in control. Jesus Christ really is the supreme gift.

You might not wrap Colossians up and place it under your Christmas tree, but it’s worth a read before you open presents, while you open presents, and after you open presents because before, during and after Jesus will not disappoint.

Christ is The Gift of Christmas that no other gift can surpass.

You should never want to take Christ out of Christmas. He is The Gift of Christmas that no other gift can surpass. Worse than taking Christ out of Christmas is leaving Christ out of your life. The gifts Jesus Christ offers are the things we need the most,  and the answer to all those things we desperately wish weren’t part of Christmas. The Gift, Jesus Christ.

Have a Christ filled Christmas!