So today is Christmas and this year, I am thinking much differently than in past years. Christmas is a time for giving – what a wonderful time of year to offer the great gift of LIFE to someone by donating a kidney! Christmas is certainly a time for gifts, and I try every year to focus on the greatest gift ever given. Many of us know that the reason we celebrate Christmas is to recognize Christ’s birth. If you know your Bible, then you know the purpose of the Christ child coming was to die….for you and for me.
Now, none of this is new information for me, but the voluntary act of choosing to come to this earth and suffer for someone else really has my attention this year. Now if you know me well, you know I don’t beat around the bush. I’m a pretty straight talker, and so that makes me a pretty straight writer. I realize that I am at a place where I am voluntarily choosing to suffer for the benefit of someone else. I cannot explain how much that changes things! I’ve had 3 relatively minor surgeries, but NEVER have I experience the fear and anxiety of this one and I believe it’s because this is a voluntary choice! I do not have to do this. I can walk away at any time and have no effect. I do not have a deep emotional connection to Katherine, so I don’t carry that sense of expectation that one might have with a family member. I have nothing to gain. I am choosing a path of suffering and sacrifice because of love.
As I reflect on Christ’s birth and his choice to voluntarily come to this earth and die an awful death for the benefit of others, many of whom hate him, I find myself with a greater appreciation of His sacrifice and also admiration for His obedience to the Father’s will. I understand a little more of that struggle in the garden. The human will is strong and to set aside that desire to avoid pain and follow God’s plan has me so in awe of Jesus.
We want to avoid pain at all costs….so how do you consciously choose pain and suffering? It’s all about love. Christ came and Christ died because of his love for you and for me. He didn’t have to come. As far as I’m concerned he could have wiped us all out and started over with some new created beings! But instead, his love for God the Father and for us led him to voluntarily choose suffering and pain so we could have fellowship with God our Creator. Wow. I’ve thought about this constantly over the past month.
Now please don’t misunderstand – I am not saying that giving up a kidney is anywhere close to what Christ did for me, but the voluntary choice part has me looking at His birth from a fresh perspective this year. I want to forever remember these things I have learned as I ponder.
Enjoy this message below where our pastor talks about courage, generosity and worship this Christmas season. Merry Christmas!