Guest Writer, David Robinson, Director of Diversity and Inclusion/Men’s Varsity Basketball Coach, Grace Community School
I remember this time of year as a young kid flipping through the pages of the Sears catalog with my cousins pointing out the things that we wished we would receive for Christmas. I remember having feelings of envy towards my cousins and my friends as I felt like they would receive everything that they wanted for Christmas while my sister and I would get “just” a few things. That all changed on what eventually became my most memorable Christmas. The irony is that I can not even tell you how old I was but I feel as though it was sometime around 5th or 6th grade. I remember tearing off wrapping paper on Christmas morning to find every gift that I had asked for that year! It was the best Christmas ever! Finally, my mom did Christmas right. Those feelings of elation and those fond memories changed as I later discovered the true cost of that Christmas. My mother set herself back significantly to give my sister and me the opportunity to experience Christmas like our friends. I now had conflicted feelings because the joy that I had came at the expense of my mother going into financial debt.
This experience always causes me to think about two sides of Christmas. When we think of this season, we naturally think about and celebrate the wonderful gift of our Saviour Jesus Christ being born. (Luke 2) The joyous occasion as it marks the earthly beginning (to a certain degree) of God’s redemptive plan. The long-awaited Messiah is here, and He will reconcile man back to God! (John 1:14) While this birth is worth every moment of celebration we can give, it also brings with it the stark contrast of what it represents. Jesus Christ was born to die. Jesus took on human flesh with the sole purpose to provide atonement for our sins. (John 1:29) God the Father was providing us with the most memorable Christmas ever by setting in motion the events of the greatest sacrifice ever.
My desire is that as you experience the happiness and joy that can come with this time of year, you would also take time to reflect. This is without a doubt as the song says, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.” It is a time in which we remember God’s provision. A time in which we miss loved ones who have passed yet cling to the hope that we will see them again in eternity. A time in which we celebrate God sending Jesus into time and space. A time in which a moment so precious as the birth of a child, also serves as a reminder of humanity’s desperate need for salvation. A time in which we remember that God wanted us to experience abundant life with Him so much that He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, His son Jesus. My prayer is that these conflicting feelings lead you as it does me to the wonderful sweet spot between elation and reverence. It is here that I truly appreciate Christmas and God’s grace.