• ONE┃99

¿Happy holidays?

Updated: Dec 24, 2020

When I think about Christmas, I think about a holiday that isn’t exactly my favorite. The reason for this is, here in America, Christmas has been commercialized to the point no one in the secular world seems to know why we celebrate it anymore. Everyone is focused on getting new things, watching Christmas movies, and going to parties. I’ve been shocked by the number of people I’ve seen try to describe why we celebrate Christmas, and give answers like “It’s a time to spend with family,” “You give and get things,” or “It’s a time to be thankful.”

These are all good things, but they are not what Christmas is all about, and I fear the culture I live in has completely forgotten what Christmas is for. It is normal now to say “Happy Holidays!” because someone might be offended by wishing someone a Merry Christmas.

While thinking about what I wanted to write for this post, I was convicted in my personal life. I have not liked how Christmas makes people feel required to give, but if I really have begun to believe that, I am missing the true gift that Christmas is focused on, because it is a gift I do not deserve.

The true gift is this: that an almighty, all powerful, completely perfect and holy God, humbled Himself to become human like us, to live the life we never could.

We can see all throughout history how God ordained the lineage Jesus would come from. The story doesn’t start with Mary and Joseph, it travels back to the beginning of creation right after the fall, when God told the serpent that Eve’s seed would crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). God had laid out this perfect plan from the beginning of time itself to bring about the redemption of His people.

All throughout the Old Testament we see God’s faithfulness to this very promise. We can look at Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 17. God promises Abraham a son in his old age (Genesis 17:4-6, and 17:19). Eventually Jesus would come from the line of Abraham.

From Abraham came Isaac, and from Isaac came Jacob, who was a deceiver (Genesis 27:1-29). Continue to follow down the line and you find David, who was an adulterer and murderer (2 Samuel 11:1-17). From David’s adultery with Basheba came the famous Solomon, who despite the circumstances he was born into, was known as the one God gave great wisdom to. Just follow the genealogy recorded for us in Matthew chapter 1, and you will see a long list of people God chose to use to glorify Himself and fulfill His promise, despite even the most faithful among them still falling short of God’s perfect standard.

The point is, God used people who could not fulfill His perfect standard of holiness to bring the ultimate incarnation of Holy itself. Jesus came to be the perfect sacrifice by living the life many generations before Him tried and failed to do.

I am the most amazed by this perfect Gift when I stop and remember that this was all planned from the foundation of the world. This story does not simply begin with a baby in a manger. It travels long before. And when we can see the big historic picture, we can more greatly appreciate exactly what Jesus did for us by coming to earth, and that is an incredible miracle.

Where Eve failed, Mary was obedient to the will of the Lord in His plan to use her to fulfill this perfect promise (Luke 1:38).

Putting all of these things into perspective has really changed my outlook on Christmas. It makes me joyful in my giving, and fills me with a desire to want to give even more. Not to give for my glory or praise, but to glorify the God who redeemed me from my sins on the cross by continuing to strive to show His love to those around me. It no longer becomes about giving for the sake of this special day and nothing else, it transforms our outlook on Christmas to be one of joy and hope. Jesus Christ gave us the ultimate gift by living the life no one else could, so that he could sacrifice himself to pay the penalty for our sins. I pray that we can use this time of year to celebrate that by spreading that joy all around us, and bringing the gospel wherever we go.

- One99 Guest, Samantha

¡Hey! Let us tell you more about her:

“My name is Samantha Burgess, I am 22 years old, and I live in a little house in my hometown, Covington Georgia.

I love using my home as an opportunity to bless other people, and it is walking distance from my church, where I actively serve by teaching 4th and 5th grade girls about the Bible.

I don’t know exactly when I truly came to know the Lord, but I once had a friend tell me, “Why do you care when the sun rose if you know it’s in the sky?”

I would like to think I was saved at a very young age, but if I’m honest, I had many spiritual trials in my teenage and early adult years. As I grew up I had to make a choice, was my faith my own or because of how I was raised? I had to change the people I surrounded myself with along the way, and found wonderful friends who push me to grow in my sanctification. It was at that time I truly took my faith seriously, and began to study God’s word.

One of my favorite things to do is spend time with friends, usually by going to weekly bible studies. I also love art, writing books, and drinking coffee. I’m a huge believer that there are a lot of meaningful friendships that can start over meeting for a cup of coffee. That’s how most of my dearest friendships have started.

I would like to thank Meli for being such a dear friend and asking me to write this blog post. It was a blessing to write, and I pray that it blesses others as well."

Merry Christmas you all!!!! And Happy New Year!!

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