The Real Gift of Christmas

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us
The government will rest on his shoulders.
          And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
          Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

We are saved by grace, the unmerited favor of God. That is the real gift of Christmas. We need only to open our hearts to Jesus.

I will never forget the first time I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. I was ten years old, and I discovered the paperback gift at the bottom of my Christmas stocking, right on top of my gold-foil-wrapped tangerine.

That Christmas Day was busy and filled with extended family, but the following day I settled on the sofa with my cat and read all day.

I couldn’t put the book down. From the first few pages, I decided that I wanted to be Lucy, as she seemed fearless, and I so wished that I was. I was filled with wonder when she stepped through the wardrobe and into the crisp white snow of Narnia. I fell in love with Mr. Tumnus, a talking faun Lucy met at a lamppost in the woods but was shocked when he confessed to her that he was actually working for the White Witch, whose evil magic had cursed the land. “Always winter but never Christmas.”

When I got to the page where the great lion Aslan is killed, sacrificing his life to save Lucy’s brother Edmund, who had betrayed him, I was heartbroken. I put down the book and burst into tears. Mum asked me what was wrong.

“The White Witch just killed Aslan,” I said through sobs. “I hate this story.”

“Then you have to read on,” she said.

I did, and she was right. I think that’s what we all have to do. We have to read on. In a world where it seems as if evil is winning, we have to read on. Sometimes we find ourselves in the middle of a story we don’t like. It seems hopeless, but we have to read on.

Through his masterful storytelling, Lewis paints a profound picture of why Jesus came to Bethlehem on that first Christmas. It’s because we were lost. We were lost in a world where it was always winter but never Christmas. We tried to fight the evil that was all around us on our own, but we were simply not strong enough. And just as it seemed evil would win, Jesus, the great Aslan, came and sacrificed His life for us.

This reminds me of the story of Zacchaeus, a little man who climbed not through a wardrobe but up a tree to try and get a better look at Jesus. And after inviting himself to be a guest in Zacchaeus’s home, much to everyone’s surprise, Jesus declared, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10 ESV).

The Greek word translated here as “lost” is the word apollymi. It means lost, ruined, or broken beyond repair. That’s who we are without Jesus. That’s why He was born in Bethlehem. If you look at other world religions, their leaders point to eternal life. Jesus is the only one who is eternal life. We are saved by grace, the unmerited favor of God. That’s why we cry out, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come!” on this day and every day.

In Your Life

When we open our hearts to Jesus—open every closed door inside of us—He is the only one who can melt the winter of past wounds and brokenness. If all we celebrated at Christmas was that Jesus came, it would be a lovely story, but we would still be living in winter. Instead, we celebrate that He was born, He lived, He died, and He rose again from the dead.

Hallelujah, Christ is born!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
let ev’ry heart prepare him room
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing!
               “Joy to the World”

In His Word

In all the busyness our Christmas celebrations can bring, take a few minutes to read the story of Jesus’ birth, either quietly on your own or perhaps as you gather together with family.

Read Luke 2.

We Recommend

If you enjoyed this devotion from guest contributor Sheila Walsh, considering picking up her book The Gifts of Christmas: 25 Joy-Filled Devotions for Advent to add to your collection.

Let’s Connect

Sheila Walsh, a Bible teacher, beloved speaker, and acclaimed Christian author is known for her impactful and relatable messages with readers seeking encouragement and hope. To connect with Sheila, visit her website or follow her on Instagram and Facebook. You can also SIGN UP for daily inspiration.