John 3:16 – 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. (NIV)
By Epiphany, it is time to put Christmas away for another year. By that, I mean taking down the tree, the ornaments, and the things we traditionally fix in our minds as a part of Christmas. One of the last things I put away is the nativity scene.
As I did this, I thought back to just before last Christmas, when I read about what swaddling clothes were: strips of cloth to bind the baby. These would have been used on Jesus, as was the custom in those days.
Then I thought about the swaddling clothes in a different light. Here we have Jesus, God's gift, wrapped in human flesh, so that we might see, touch, and feel Him, if we but open the gift.
Some tend to keep the gift in the manger, and never lift it out. Others watch Him grow, but see Jesus as just a great preacher or a good man. This will never do. We need to open the gift that God gave to us.
Let us not put the manger scene away for another year without first lifting the baby Jesus out, and opening the gift that God gave to us.
Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, help those who have not opened Your gift, those who have not received their eternal salvation. We pray that this gift will not be put away unopened for another year, for we know not when our life might be taken from us. Open our hearts, our eyes, our ears, that we might see, touch, and feel Your Spirit, as we pray in Jesus' name. Amen.