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Just dropping by ... God’s gift at Christmas

Yevet Tenney for Progressive Dairy Published on 25 November 2020
Clean and dirty glass

Christmas lights twinkle along sidewalks and glitter in store windows. “Jingle Bells,” “White Christmas” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” jingle and jangle amid the din of shoppers darting from display to display searching for the perfect gift before they rush home with their treasures.

I wonder if they remember they are mimicking the Wise Men of long ago who followed the star in the east and came to worship Him who was born in Bethlehem. The Wise Men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Through the ages, people have purchased trinkets of every shape and size, wrapped them in packages tied up with brilliant shining bows and placed them under shimmering Christmas trees to commemorate that event of millennia ago.

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When the shopping is finished and we gaze at the tree laden with gifts, we wonder, “What will I get for Christmas?” It is a selfish thought, and we squelch it immediately, but it lingers until our minds can find higher thoughts and deeper meditations about what Christmas really means. Christmas is not about giving earthly gifts at all. It is about receiving God’s love and sharing it with the world. Christmas Wise Men were not the first to give gifts on Christmas. It was God the Father, and His gift keeps giving century after century through turmoil and peace, joy and sorrow. He gave His only Begotten Son to the world to redeem the world.

Many are puzzled at God’s infinite gift. Why would He send His Son to save a fallen world and expect Him to give His life on a cruel cross to pay for sins He did not commit and to show love to a people who hated Him enough to condemn Him to death? It seems if Jesus’ Father really loved Him, He would have spared His Son from such misery. Life is full of ironies we do not fully comprehend.

I began to understand in some small part the great gift of God’s Son when, in meditation and prayer, I was given the Parable of the Clean Water and the Dirty Glasses of Water.

Imagine there are two glasses of water sitting on the table; they are both sparkling pure. The sun shines through the glass in magnificent rays of light as they sit there, undisturbed, day after day. One day, someone brings a handful of dirt and pours it into the glasses. They are instantly muddy and filled with darkness. The sun can no longer shine through the mire. Logic tells us that pouring water from one dirty glass to the other will never be able to make both glasses clean. They must forever be doomed to remain in dirtiness unless someone else brings clean water to purify the glasses.

In the beginning, we were all clean and pure glasses of water. We came from our Father in Heaven with no sin or imperfection. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden were in such a state. They were without sin. Satan, in the form of a serpent, poured dirty water into their glasses, and they became soiled. Because they were dirty, they could no longer stay in the presence of God. They were thrust out of the Garden and given a chance to experience mortality. Adam could not pour his water into Eve’s glass and make it clean. Nor could she clean his glass because her water was dirty.

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As parents, Adam and Eve could not pour clean water into the vessels of their children, no matter how they poured the water from one glass to another. Children came into the world, pure and clean, but eventually they would sin, and their glasses would become dirty through no fault of their parents. Every human being who lives in the world has a dirty glass. The spirit of God cannot shine in us as readily as it could if our glasses were clean.

The world needed a Savior, someone with a glass of pure water. Jesus came into the world with a pure glass of water. He was born the Son of God, with the power to bring pure water into the world. Though Jesus was faced with the worst and was treated more cruelly that any other person, He chose never to allow Himself to sin in His entire life. His water remained pure. Because He gave His sinless life on the cross, He died with pure water in His glass. Now He has the power to pour clean water into every glass that comes to Him.

Cleaning the water in our glasses does not happen all at once. We gather drops of His water as we learn to live His teaching, espouse His attributes and follow His path. As we do, incrementally the sunlight of the Spirit begins to shine though our proverbial glasses. We begin to love as He loved and share as He shared. Our clean water can be poured into the glasses of our children, our neighbors and our friends. Even our enemies may see our clean glasses and desire clean water for themselves. The more of Christ’s water that is shared, the more peace and purity there is in the world.

What a magnificent Christmas gift. God gave His Son as living water to cleanse our proverbial glasses so we would be able to return to His presence. His gift was an act of love, not a ploy to punish His only Begotten Son. He loves all His sons and daughters. There was no other way to save us. That was proven in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus pleaded to take the cup from Him.

It is not enough to recognize the beauty of God’s supernal gift. We must open it and embrace it. No matter how expensive and beautifully wrapped a present, a gift is not a gift if it sits beneath the tree unopened. We must pull the ribbon from this magnificent gift, by coming to Christ and allowing His living water to become part of our lives. We must recognize that He did indeed sacrifice His life for us, not just in those excruciating moments in Gethsemane or the terrible ordeal of the cross, but from the moment His star appeared in the east to the darkness of Calvary and His agonizing cry, “It is finished.” He was obedient to His Father’s will. Every decision was made with that “living water” and our dirty glasses in mind.

Christ was a shining example of many attributes that, if fostered, will bring us the greatest joy in life. His attributes are glistening raindrops splashing into our glasses. Each time we practice an attribute of the Savior, we clean our glasses a little more and the light of His love shines brighter.

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Faith, hope and charity were hallmarks of His life.

We do not generally think of Jesus having faith, but every miracle he performed and every prayer He prayed were acts of faith in his Father. That night in Gethsemane when he sweated great drops of blood suffering for the sins of every living soul who ever hurt or hurt someone else, was an act of faith as He said, “Thy will be done.”

His hope was for those He came to save – Peter who denied him three times, the ungrateful lepers and even Judas who betrayed him. He hopes for us, in our eternal quest to be again in the presence of God. He hopes that we will open His wonderful gift and partake of His goodness while we walk through this mortal jungle and not try to go it alone. He knows His way is the only way to peace and joy.

Charity is the pure love of Christ. He did nothing selfishly or for the praise of the world. He reached out to the poor and needy no matter who they were. He healed the Samaritan as readily as he healed the Jews, though there was much prejudice on both sides. He elevated the status of women and honored them with the same status He gave to men. In fact, His resurrection was first announced to women. He was the embodiment of charity.

There are other attributes of Christ we can emulate, but faith, hope and charity will bring us closer to Christ and will help us see eternity more clearly. Christ is truly the living water and the most magnificent Christmas gift ever given to anyone.  end mark

Yevet Crandell Tenney is a Christian columnist who loves American values and traditions. She writes about faith, family and freedom. 

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