Guest Post

White Elephant at Christmas


We are a few days from Christmas, which may leave you with various emotions. Some people are filled with excitement and joy that the wonder of this time of year brings.

Yet many of us feel more anxiety than excitement, and others feel more lonely than loved.

Today’s guest post was written for those who are looking for their Christmas cheer. My husband has written a little something to remind us that Jesus came as a gift to each one of us. So no matter what your plans are for celebrating the holidays, remember how deeply loved you are, dear friends.

This past week Wendy and I were party animals. Well, sort of… we have four kids, so we don’t get out much, but last week we were able to attend a couple Christmas parties, one with the church staff and the other with our small group. (See what I mean? Party. Animals.)

As a part of each get together there was a “White Elephant” gift exchange. If you are unfamiliar with this concept, a “white elephant gift” is an unwanted, used, abused or often neglected item from around your house that you are happy to “give away.” It’s a game that embodies the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Some examples of the gifts included a VHS copy of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, an obnoxious Gilligan’s Island musical cookie jar, a WWE Slim Jim coffee mug, and what I can only assume was a vintage ceramic bunny wearing Christmassy clothes ready to sit on your shelf…kind of like an Elf on the Shelf but creepier.

At the end of the night each person was supposed to take his or her newfound treasure home. Although, after the party we hosted, most of the gifts were later found hidden inside our house instead of making the trip to their new residence.

Perhaps they weren’t all “another man’s treasure.”

 

Have you ever felt broken? Unwanted? Uninvited? Useless or Unseen? Jesus was a master at pointing out the “White Elephants” in the room. Maybe you have heard some of these.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” -Luke 19:10

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” -Luke 5:31-32

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”- Luke 4:18-19

At this time of year, when we reflect on the “true” meaning of Christmas, let us not misplace our attention. Jesus came to seek and save “all” that was lost. Sometimes we fall into the trap of believing that he only came for the pretty, perfect, popular and high-priced toys among us. That is not the case. Jesus came for all that are and will soon be… broken.

On those days when we feel like a misfit toy, discarded, unworthy of love and affection, like we don’t measure up. It is helpful to remember that Jesus came to claim all of the “White Elephants,” mend our hearts, and take us home!

 

 

Shawn is a husband and father of four in central Illinois where he serves as a discipleship pastor. 

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