Do they still publish the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog?  Do you remember the outrageous gift selections for the very wealthy?  His-and-hers submarines, hot air balloons (not a ride, but the balloon itself), an Egyptian sarcophagus, even a trip to outer space…

Maybe these are not on the top of your list this year, but don’t we all have an expectation of hope that doesn’t go away with age?  If our hope is in Christmas, we most likely will be disappointed.  If our hope, though, is in Christ, this truly can be the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Wise men brought unusual gifts to Jesus at His birth.  Have you stopped to think, though, that the very first Christmas gift was not something for Jesus?  The first Christmas gift was Jesus Himself!  At its best, Christmas is a promise of something no holiday or earthly gifts can satisfy.  Galatians 4:4-5 says, “But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons (and daughters).”

What has God given us in the gift of Christ?  Isaiah 9:6 describes the gift better than any TV ad or newspaper circular…even better than anything Neiman Marcus could come up with:

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Each of these names for Jesus deals with an important area of our lives.  They are like five Christmas gifts we can open, and each is special and unusual!

  1. Wonderful: This takes care of the dullness of life.  The word used here could also be translated “awe-inspiring,” the heart-felt devotion of knowing what God did for us.
  2. Counselor: This handles the decisions of life.  The God who is wonderful wants to give us counsel and direction.  He has a unique plan for each of us.
  3. Mighty God: This deals with the demands of life.  God desires to give us the strength necessary to live life His way, according to His plan for each of us.
  4. Everlasting Father: Regardless of our earthly relationships, God lives out the perfect parental role of care and love, forgiveness and grace that we all need.
  5. Prince of Peace: Life is filled with disturbances and, to be honest, Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of the year.  But Christ comes to each of us with the peace that passes all human understanding.  Whatever gifts may be under your tree this year, they cannot match the beauty and necessity of God’s gift for you.  Better than any Neiman Marcus purchase is the free gift of life, abundant now and into eternity.  Don’t just celebrate Christmas this year.  Celebrate Christ.