I was walking down the hospital corridors the other day when it suddenly dawned on me that it is already December. As I saw the decorations fill the corridors and wards and the rice bulbs light up the streets in different colours , I realised with a damp feeling in my heart that it’s the ‘Christmas season’ as they call it and I wasn’t really feeling all that Christmasy , if you know what I mean!
The thing about these last couple of months of the year is that whether you like it or not, the lights come up, carols are heard all over the place, the wards are decorated, the streets are lit up and you’re part of many dinner parties and what not. It’s like you’re supposed to be happy and in full on celebration mode, and you’re not allowed to sulk regardless of whether the constitution of your country states that you have the freedom/right to feel whatever way you want or not. Its almost like the season forces itself on you, and all that joy ultimately rubs off.
So when a few of my friends decided to play this game of ‘Secret Santa'( trust me, we’re actually fully grown adults), wherein we secretly pass on small gifts on random days to the person you’ve picked by lot and finally one big gift on the day of revelation, it got me thinking. Thinking in terms of what is all this hullabaloo about? What are we really supposed to be giving in this so called season of ‘giving and forgiving’? And these thoughts took me all the way to that tiny meagre stable where baby Jesus was born. Basically an amazing occurrence when God decided to forgo all that Majesty and glory and become a tiny baby, born in the dirtiest and lowliest of all circumstances,to grow up like a normal human being with all the difficulties thereof attached and ultimately die a cruel gory death on a cross- for what? For the love of you and me! Now that’s downright crazy, isn’t it?
Say what? you ask me- yeah! That’s exactly what I said. He did all that because He loved you and me too much to let us rot in our helplessness and our sins. So He became the sacrifice, the Lamb that was slain.
How amazing is that love! Can you imagine someone laying down their life for you? So that you will have eternal life?
Well yeah, that’s what the story is all about and this season is a celebration of that Love- not because we know the exact date or month that Jesus was born , nor do we know whether it was cold or hot at the time, but we know He came, for you, for me. And that’s how much you’re loved, that’s how much I am loved- like L-O-V-E-D ( all in capital letters)!
So in the midst of this crazy schedule of mine , following duty rosters, and skipping meals, working odd hours and sleeping off on top of my laptop trying to complete work against deadlines, God nudged me gently the other day as I looked around ( almost apeing Scrooge saying- Bah, humbug!) saying- Remember how much you’re loved, child. And that’s what I get to give to others as well- love- crazy, unconditional, unfailing and unending- exactly as the Father loves me.
And even as you unwrap your surprise gifts and run around hanging up lights and confetti these days, or you’re still carrying bleeps and attending calls and saving lives even on Christmas day, take that one moment to pause and remember that you are L-O-V-E-D- by your Maker, in ways more than one and so much that you cannot even imagine or fathom it. And that’s exactly what you get to pass on.
John 3:16 (NIV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.