Early on Christmas morning, the lights on the tree twinkled in anticipation of the excitement to come. Christmas cards lined the mantel with smiling faces. The presents were stacked neatly eagerly waiting for tiny hands to open them. But one was missing, still tucked away, hidden where no one would find it until the right time. It wasn't like the others. It was special, different, set apart for a reason.
The sound of little feet running upstairs broke the quiet atmosphere, and before long, the children arrived followed by sleepy parents dreaming of their first cup of coffee.
Within minutes, wrapping paper covered the floor and excited voices screamed in delight as the children played with their presents. The parents looked at each other and smiled, happy to see their little ones so full of joy on this special day. The mother thought about the hidden present for a moment, and put the thought to the back of her mind. When the moment was right, she would bring it out for the family to open.
The exciting day passed as the children played with their new toys and the parents prepared for the rest of the family to join them for Christmas dinner. The present stayed in its hiding place, patiently waiting for its turn.
The doorbell rang announcing the arrival of the grandparents. Before long, others had arrived, more gifts were exchanged, and finally they sat around the table with heads bowed in prayer.
After the prayer and a conversation-filled dinner, the mother slipped out to get the present that she had waited all day to open. She handed it to her youngest child and asked her to open it and show it to everyone. She told her daughter that this gift would be the most important and amazing gift they could get for Christmas. The girl's eyes grew wide, and she cradled the gift in her hands as if it would shatter any second.
Everyone sat quietly as the youngest one stared at the curious wrapping...black paper with a flowing red ribbon. What kind of Christmas present would be wrapped in black paper? She took a deep breath and carefully unwrapped it and discovered a white box. She timidly opened the lid to find out what was hidden inside.
Inside she found a simple golden cross. Confused, she held it up for all to see.
At the moment, the father began to speak.
The black wrapping represents the sin in our hearts. The cross stands for the most beautiful gift ever given in history...the greatest act of love - when Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins. The red ribbon represents the blood he shed, and the white box reminds us that three days later He rose from the grave. And finally, the golden color of the cross reminds us that he is waiting for us to join Him in Heaven.
While Christmas is a wonderful time to get together with family and receive gifts from each other, let us not forget the most important thing we celebrate on Christmas - the birth of Christ - when God came to us in the form of man to live among us and finally die so that we could live eternal life. The story doesn't end there though because He isn't dead. He is alive and well, and if we accept his gift of grace, we will live with him for eternity in Heaven.
The little girl stared at the cross she held in her hands. In her youth, she had a hard time understanding everything she just heard, but she knew that this cross was important.
Not many years down the road, she would not only watch the annual opening of the gift, but she would be part of the story, for she would accept Christ into her own heart and would thank Him for the greatest gift of Christmas...the gift of life. But this gift isn't just for the little girl in the story. It is a gift for all, a gift for you.
We pray here at Deliberate Women that as you go about your busy Christmas day, that you will remember the gift that God has given you through His son Jesus Christ. We hope that your day will be filled with wonder, excitement, joy and most of all remembrance and gratitude as we remember the true meaning of Christmas.
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