The year that I was in 4th grade, my Dad had been laid off from the glass plant where he worked. Noticing that we’d been having cereal for supper a couple of nights a week, I was worried that Christmas wasn’t going to happen.
My brothers still believed in Santa, or at least, I thought they did. But, I, being the oldest, knew the truth and feared that cold harsh reality would be tough. The week of Christmas, Dad took his axe and cut down a tree and we decorated it.
Eating popcorn and listening to Christmas carols on the record player, I faced the possibility that there would be no gifts under the tree. As I watched my brothers playing, I began to realize that even if there were no gifts under the tree, the love our family shared every day was a gift to each of us. My thoughts turned toward that first Christmas when the baby Jesus was born. The best gift the world ever received—started as a baby—a part of a family.
One afternoon, mom sent me to her bedroom to get hangars for the clothes she was ironing. As I pulled the metal hangars out from between Dad’s shirts, I saw a roll of new, red wrapping paper. My heart leapt with anticipation!
I hadn’t seen anything but a glimpse at the holiday paper, but it was enough to let me know that, even though I hadn’t seen any shopping being done, there would be presents. My little heart about exploded; I wanted to jump up and down and clap my hands! That “glimpse” had restored my hope. Even so, the baby Jesus was a “glimpse” of what was to come. Christmas is not about the baby, it is about the cross and the hoped for restoration of our family relationship with our heavenly Father.
Sometimes, when I pray for loved ones to get saved, I look and look but can’t see any evidence that God is doing anything in their life. But, God speaks to my heart through scripture and I know that He is faithful. God sent His son that we ALL may have life to the fullest. (John 10:10) Just as He was faithful to send His only son to die for our sins, He is faithful to whisper that same awareness of salvation to the hearts of my family and friends.
Years ago, when I saw the wrapping paper in my parent’s closet, I’d been encouraged because I’d caught a glimpse of truth in spite of what my eyeballs had seen. As I grew up, I recognized that the birth of baby Jesus was only a glimpse of God’s great plan. The same holds true for the salvation of my loved ones.
God’s Word gives me an encouraging glimpse, letting me know that His Holy Spirit is always working and progress is being made. Satan hates my prayers, he hates my relationship with Jesus, and he hates the joy and hope that accompany my faith. When I recognize God’s sovereignty, I know that He is faithful. He will do whatever it takes to bring my friends and loved ones to awareness of their need for Him.
Whether they accept His salvation is up to them; but God, by His Holy Spirit, will make sure His love, mercy and salvation is available to them every moment of their life. The birth of the Christmas baby was the first glimpse of the gift of restoration being brought to God’s children.
2 Peter 3:8-9 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for the precious gift of your son, Jesus. Thank you for the confirmation of hope through salvation and eternity with you. Help me to realize all that we have now in Christ is only a small glimpse of the glory of eternity with you that is to come. Happy Birthday, Jesus—thank you.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.