Every week we offer a prayerful reflection from a member of the Unbound community. Throughout the Advent/Christmas season, we offer a special series of reflections on the upcoming readings. This reflection for Christmas Day is from Writer/Editor Jordan Kimbrell.
When the kindness and generous love
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
He saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)
Growing up, my family tried out a few different Christmas traditions. Some stuck, some didn’t. But one of my favorites has always been on Christmas Eve.
My sister and I would gather around the tree, oftentimes with Chipmunk Christmas music playing in the background, and search for the boxes marked “X-mas Eve.” We knew what would be inside, yet we still felt the anticipation of finally opening a present from under the tree.
Inside the box we’d find a new set of pajamas, sometimes in Christmas red and other times adorned with images of cats. They were something warm and comfortable to send us to bed in and to wear throughout the next morning’s gift-giving. More importantly, they were a symbol of Mom’s love.
Even when she couldn’t afford much else, Mom always made sure we were clean and clothed, even when resting at night. She expressed joy in making us feel loved (though we may have deserved to be on the naughty list). Unwrapping that new pair of P.J.s every year has always brought me a sense of comfort and belonging, even as an adult.
It’s this same sense of comfort that I find each day when I think of what God has done for all of us. The Lord sent Christ as a gift of his love, knowing that his sacrifice would bring salvation and wrap us in the blanket of forgiveness. Seeing my mom’s happiness in giving to her kids gives me a glimpse of the immense joy our Father must feel each time someone opens their heart to his Son.
As a writer for Unbound, I see the same love of a parent for a child reflected in the stories and photos that come across my desk. Though the gifts these parents are able to give vary, the love remains the same.
Christmas for me is about family because of that gift of salvation. Even though we, as humans, have done nothing to deserve it, God loves us unconditionally and has given us the most perfect gift that could be given.
God of wonder, may our celebration of the birth of your Son wrap us in joy and sustain us with hope. May the gift of your oneness with the human family move us to recognize you in all we meet and reverence you through acts of loving service. We ask this in the name of our Incarnate Lord, Jesus the Christ. Amen.