Sitting up wide-eyed under the weight of a cotton quilt, a tussle haired child hurriedly drops from the bed to the cold floor and begins to navigate her way carefully and quietly down the dark hallway and into the den. Peering cautiously through the doorway, her eyes adjust to the dancing lights stationed like sentries on the small green tree in the corner, as the darkness of night retreats with the charge of daybreak. Her searching eyes focus, like a lion about to pounce, on the prize that sits partially hidden under the evergreen boughs. A small box wrapped with layers of bright red and green foil paper and a huge white bow silently awaits her searching fingers and excited eyes. The gift she has anxiously awaited all year is finally hers to open. It is Christmas morning!

            Sitting on the dark hillsides watching their sheep, a solitary band of shepherds stared in utter amazement as the angels leaped across the skies like Roman candles in a firework display. A fragile young wife and a frightened young husband awaited a Child that refused to wait any longer for His birth. Amid the stench of the cattle and the pain of labor, the Fragrance of God made His entrance into His creation and was gently placed in a stone feeding trough in a small out of the way town called the House of Baked Bread (Bethlehem). No throng or multitude awaited the announcement of His birth outside this unusual delivery room. The Father of all good gifts had finally delivered the Gift humankind had anxiously awaited throughout the centuries. It was Christmas morning!

            Kneeling beside a sick and broken addict, the young man shares a powerful story with compassion and purpose. For the first time in many years this shackled creature begins to consider what freedom is really like. Not freedom to do what he wants but freedom to be what he was created to be. Calmly and carefully the young man shares a scripture here and an experience there. Unseen, the Holy Spirit hovers above them, like a mother hen with her biddies, bringing forth eternal life. Through the sobs of hopelessness, a confession is offered and a cry of faith is answered, and a new creation is born. The Gift received is new life conceived through Jesus Christ. It iss Christmas morning!

            Christmas is more than a day we celebrate; Christmas is the gift we have been given. Immanuel, “God with us,” has given us the gift of abundant, eternal life in Him. Share the gift with someone and watch God unwrap the real gift of Christmas morning.

And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins. Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “Behold, the virgin shall be with Child, and shall bear Son, and they shall call His name ‘Immanuel,’ which translated means, “God with us.”’” (Matthew 1: 21-23).