So yesterday was the last day of class and although most of the students I teach come from very low socio economic statuses I saw how they made an effort to give their teacher a gift. It wasn't so much about the value of the gift but about the thought they put into it.
One of my students made me a robot mask out of a napkin. I was so tempted to throw it in the trash (if I were to keep everything they gave me I would need to rent a storage room just to store everything). I told him, "I really like what you made for me but I'm not really going to use it...would you like it back?" His response was, "Put it on your refrigerator." That really touched me because this is one of the three boys in my classroom that did not get to participate in the McDonald's party (first year I've ever excluded anyone) because of misbehavior. I am tough on him and eventhough I discipline him he still loves me. As a matter of fact, I think he loves me more because of it.
It's funny isn't it because I relate it to our God. He loves us so much that when we make wrong choices we pay the consequences, yet he never stops loving us. And the more we have messed up in the past, the more we will love him simply because the more he has rescued us.
You see, I am not perfect and I did not make all the right choices in life. I know what it feels like to mess up but I also know God's forgiveness. I am so glad that I am forgiven (past, present and future). What an awesome gift God has given us.
I encourage you this Christmas to remember the real meaning behind Christmas. I know how hard it can be as we get bombarded with invitations to family gatherings, fight traffic and lines at the malls to find the perfect gift for that special someone and consume more sweets in one week than we have all year long (at least it feels that way for me) but take some time to think about the real gift, Jesus. He didn't come into this world as he deserved to come, as the King but he came as an innocent baby, pure and blameless and took our sins upon himself so that we would have salvation.
Jesus is the real gift this Christmas.
"An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."