Tomorrow begins the Super Bowl of all holidays. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have merged into a two day event for many of us. We’ll have a family gathering on Christmas Eve and then another or maybe multiple gatherings on Christmas Day. It is a glad occasion, a time for family, a time for sharing in the joy of each other, a time for remembering the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Of late, on holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving, even Easter, I have taken to self-evaluation. What kind of man am I? Am I growing in my love for Christ? Am I loving my wife and children well? Is the man I am in public, the same man in private? Am I loving my neighbor well? I tend to load myself with these questions and answer them as honestly as I can. Almost always, I walk away lacking. And this is why remembrance is important.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV)
When I remember who Jesus was born to be, I realize that I am empty. If all I had to offer my family was me, we would be in a sad state of affairs. If all I could offer my neighbor is me, I’m not even sure we would know each other. All by myself, I’m not an easy person to get to know. By myself, I’m not all that interesting. I’m not naturally wired for being the life of the party. (Even with Jesus, I’m not the life of the party.)
By myself, I’m not nearly as loving. I am naturally wired with a deep-seated self interest.
By myself, I can be an angry person.
I am empty.
But Jesus was born to give us life. He is the Wonderful Counselor. As I let him live through me, he speaks into the lives of others with timeless, perfect counsel. He’s the Everlasting Father. By his fathering in my life, I learn to be a godly father to my children. He is the Prince of Peace. Not only does he bring peace into my life, but through me, he can minister peace into the lives of the people in my life. And the best part of all, my only role in this is to submit to his leading and his zeal will accomplish these things. His interest in working through me is greater than my desire to submit, and because of that, he will accomplish and finish what he starts in me.
I may be empty, but all in all, that is a good thing. Jesus was born to save the empty. He came to save the weak and heal the sick. He opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. This Christmas, I hope you find yourself empty. If you do, don’t fret; you are in a prime position to be used by the Son born to us this day.