Did you get what you wanted for Christmas? Did people like what you gave them? Or are you about to enter into the after-holiday ritual of returning gifts that were the wrong size, a duplicate of something you have, or something you just can’t see yourself enjoying?

How blessed we are that the true Christmas gift, our Savior, is perfect and never needs to be returned. This gift fits us all; whatever our needs, He can fill and heal our hearts. He alone is the Lord, never duplicated and never matched. He brings joy to any heart that opens to Him, even those hearts that thought they would never feel joy again.

And Jesus never rejects our gifts: He accepts all that we bring Him with open arms and open heart. He takes in our sin, our doubt, and our pain, and gives us the wonder of His Grace and the blessing of His Love. Giving both in abundance, He encourages us to share them with others and asks only that we let them know who gave us these precious gifts.

We may have come to the manger broken and despairing. We may have arrived happy but exhausted. Perhaps our Advent journey was hesitant and doubt-filled. But here we are, privileged to kneel at the manger and take in the wonder of the Christmas Babe, renewed and restored by His coming, awestruck that His gifts to us are far more than we could ever deserve.

Let us linger here a while. And when it is time to return to the world, let us carry His gifts with us humbly, but let us set our feet to His path, our hands to His work, and our hearts to His love. If we grow frustrated or weary, let us take a moment and remember the gift-filled manger and find within it the strength to continue forward.

Thanks be to God that He gives us exactly what we need, what we should want, for Christmas. May we embrace His gift always.

“Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, With all our hearts we praise His holy name. Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we, His power and glory ever more proclaim!”Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure, 1847