Why do we often take for granted the things that we should cherish? Some things we assume will simply be there and take for granted their existence. We don’t realize how much we depend on them until they are gone. If you have ever had an injury or lose physical capabilities, you know what it’s like. When our comforts that we call necessities break down, we experience it. Dishwasher breaks, hot water heater goes, furnace dies, internet goes down, cell phone is lost, charger is missing. If and when it is restored, we are grateful for a short moment but then we go right on taking it for granted again. We can treat God like a refrigerator. We expect it to be working and full of everything we like. We demand, “Dispense what I want and keep me happy.” To deeply cherish the gifts of Christ we must see
how much we don’t deserve him in the slightest. We take our sin seriously, the darkness which lies over the earth, the shadow of death in which we all sit, the nightly haunting of care and fear, and above all the enslavement of guilt. Only when we accept all this can we cherish the miracle of the fact that God has broken into it all, that he has torn heaven open and released a flood of light on the earth in an undeniable event of change and renewal: his birth.
This invasion of eternity which fulfills all hope and longing is concentrated at a single point: where the Christ child lies in its crib, where the love of God is so big that it gives itself in what is smallest, where the eternity of God is so mighty that it enters a feeble and frail body. He does so in order to draw near to us who are poor and needy and who can never storm heaven ourselves. In the book of Colossians, Paul returns the church there to the basics of sin and grace in order to give them a better appreciation and depth into their relationship with God. God gives us the ability to cherish the gifts of Christ: his peace, his word, and his name.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. He called you to this peace. You weren’t at peace with God. At times, your sinful nature still wants to despise God’s comfort and peace when it bucks against God’s will. You have been called to a peace. This is not a peace which you produce or provide, it is the peace of Christ (or better said, “from Christ”).
This peace could not be secured without great sacrifice. Jesus did not come to gain a life of comforts and abundance. He didn’t come to test out the latest technology or find a way to make this life easier. He went to the deepest darkest place, when being crucified he cried out for God. The depth of human
agony was brought into the span between the crib and cross, where it is taken and enclosed by nail-pierced hands. So then bursting forth from the empty grave on Easter was his peace for you. You hear about this peace in God’s word so Paul encourages that gift to be cherished.
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. We cherish the peace of Christ by also cherishing the word among us. You know how it is that a certain personality can walk into a room and bring a sense of comfortable joy. You can be having a terrible day, but when he or she enters every care seems to melt away. This is what happens when we let the word of Christ dwell among us. Our church has remained fairly stable over this trying year. I can give no other credit than to the Word of God remaining among us. We did not stop using it. We continued to preach it. We continued to use hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs to drive the Gospel of Christ into our hearts. Christmas eve is a great example, filled with lessons from God’s word and songs about the grace of Christ. Cherish this gift. We don’t deserve to be part of a church. I don’t deserve to be here preaching the word to you. You don’t deserve to be hearing it. But we get it anyways. Some remark on how few people are attending church. I am grateful any come or tune in at all. What a gift to gather, listen to the word, and sing. The word of Christ will never desert us. Paul continues by cherishing the name we are given. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Whatever one does “in word or deed” includes all that we say or do. Others do not know our thoughts, nor are they affected by them. But our words and actions do touch others. Everything about the Christian that touches others is to be done “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” The name “Jesus” is the full revelation of his saving reputation as he has given it to us in his word. Every aspect of the Christian life is to be the response of faith which rests on the solid foundation of that saving message. In his life the Christian looks for opportunities to express his Christian faith. All that the believer says and does as a believer expresses that faith in the Lord Jesus. I have heard from people, “I can’t believe how bad this world are getting.” It is said in reference to the declining morality and increase of disasters. I cringe at the thought whenever I hear about children who are neglected for days because mom and dad are too high to care. My heart breaks when I see another suicide because someone lost hope. What would our world look like if Christ didn’t come, if God stopped intervening, and if there was no place to go for hope?
This is the world into which God sent his Son. As a frail human being is how Jesus chose to manifest himself. This is a new splendor of the fact that we haven been loved and visited and dearly bought by a love which caused the Child to be born into our misery and to suffer our terrible death on the cross. No, we don’t need to lose the gift of Christ to know how much it means to us. We cherish this gift of Christ because he is our Savior.