Friday, December 22, 2006

White Elephant

Unfortunately, I'm expected to actually get things done today, so I can't type long, but I wanted to convey some sort of Christmas greeting.

"Ho, ho, ho."

I really want to write something powerful and profound about the true meaning of Christmas. ("Lights, please?") But I'm so overwhelmed by my to-do list today that I just don't have it in me.


We had our office "white elephant" party today. For those of you who are uninitiated, you bring a horrible, silly, stupid gift to the party, and place it under the tree. Then people draw numbers, and one can either "steal" someone else's prize or take a new one. Then, at the very end of the game, the person who went first has the option to trade with someone else, no tradebacks.

Last year, I traded for an atrocious candelabra set, that was so awesomely ugly. I displayed it proudly in my office all year. This year, I regifted it.

I was one of the very last ones. The turn before mine, a friend who had acquired a really nice faucet (something she actually wanted) got it stolen by another player; then she got stuck with a bike lock. So I took her bike lock, so she could take back her faucet. I didn't really want the bike lock at first--I don't even own a bike--but I knew she'd like the faucet (she's redoing her bathroom). Of course, then I saw how awesome the bike lock was, and didn't feel so altruistic. So everyone's happy. Except for the other losers, who got lame stuff. Oh well. Bah humbug.


Had I the time or presence of mind to write something profound about the holiday, what I would have written would probably have been about how Christmas is the greatest day in the world because it signifies resurrection. By entering humanity to die for our sin, Jesus took our death upon Himself and gave us His life. I was reading Romans 8 this week, and was just struck by the sheer weight of that idea. We have life in the Spirit, because the death our flesh deserves was borne on the back of the Son of God.

My favorite verse in the Bible, one I quote almost weekly in class, is II Corinthians 5:21, which says, "God (the Father) made Him (the Son) who had no sin to BE sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. A little baby in a manger grew up mighty in word and deed, and lived a perfect life so that He could trade His perfection for our corruption, bear the weight and punishment of God's wrath upon our sin, and give us His righteousness and life.

In that "white elephant" trade, we got an immeasurably good deal. Because our corruption, our deserved death of body and soul, was a whole lot worse than a bike lock or an ugly candelabra. But Jesus Christ, the Son of the Most High, made that trade for our sake. He gave us what we needed, and took upon Himself suffering and punishment and wrath that He did not deserve. It was "unjust," by human standards, and He embraced that "injustice" so that God's Just anger against sin could be satisfied and we could still be spared.

And on this Monday, we who are God's Children will remember the God who became the baby, the baby who became a man, the man who lived for the very purpose of dying, and the death and resurrection that gave us a life we could never earn or deserve.

And that will make it a Merry Christmas, for one and all.

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