One of my most vivid Christmas memories is getting a used car stereo from the junkyard. Strange, right? Not if you were the particular kind of strange like me. From a very early age, I so enjoyed taking things apart. It began with my toys and quickly graduated to electronics. Investigating the inner workings of radios, TVs, speakers and VCRs fascinated me. How were they able to do all the wondrous things that they could do? I assumed that if I took them apart, their secrets would come pouring out. Unfortunately—for me and for the poor blighted piece of equipment I set upon—it never worked out that way.
As gifted as I was at disassembling and destruction—and I must say it truly was a gift—I was thoroughly inept at putting the pieces back together. I could pull the most complicated device apart in seconds, but I was at a total loss at returning said pieces to anything resembling a working condition. This deeply frustrated me.
I would stare bewilderedly at the pile of rubble before me; never able to fully restore what I had so deftly demolished. Finally, my last option was to petition my father to sit with me and help. He had ran a local Radio Shack, was the Audio Visual Director at our local high school and had as much affinity for repairing electronics as I had for dismantling them. It didn’t matter how badly I had wrecked things. He knew exactly where everything should be placed.
I can remember one time in particular when he sat down beside me, “Wow. That’s quite a mess you have there. What say I give you a hand with that?”
It didn’t happen often, but when he had the time, putting things back together with him was some of the sweetest times of my childhood.
This is the story that came to mind when I was reflecting on the gift of Jesus. Like my “gift” with electronics, humanity has an innate ability to wreck things. Our sin nature gums up the works and makes it impossible to repair all the beautiful broken things in and around us. Like a dejected child, we all huddle over the piles of our destruction wishing desperately to reassemble, that which was rent.
Into this despair, steps the Father. He understands our nature, our ability to ravage, but never to redeem. The God of creation compassionately enters into our plight and whispers, “Wow. That’s quite a mess you have. How about I give you a hand?”That is the message this year of Christmas for me. Immanuel…God with us. He enters into our mess. Pulls up a chair and begins the beautiful heart surgery of restoration and redemption.
What is broken in your life?
What have you been trying in vain to repair?
Have you sought the Father’s help?
Have you swallowed your pride, confessed your inadequacy and opened yourself up to God’s restorative plan?
That is the gift that is most important. Accept it. Unwrap it. And share it with others.
May you have a merry, merry, Christmas!