“What do you want for Christmas?”
It’s the question that grandparents ask their grandkids. It’s what the Santa in every movie asks the child on his lap. It’s what we try to guess for thosewe love. And it’s what keeps us wandering for hours at the mall when we don’t have the answer.
But have you ever wondered … what does Jesus want for Christmas?
To find out the answer to this question, let’s look at the first chapter in Colossians. In this letter, the Apostle Paul tells us whatJesus wants. And what we discover is that Jesus doesn’t actually want something from us, but for us.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation –if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. (Col 1:21-23)
Here are two things Jesus wants for us:
1. Jesus wants us to receive a gift – His pardon. (v. 21-22a)
All of us are alienated – or estranged – from God before we receive His pardon for our sins. God is so holy and perfect, that no amount of sin is OK withHim. So, if left on our own, we are estranged from God.
If you’ve ever had a falling out with a friend or went through a divorce, then you can probably remember all of the emotions you felt when you wereestranged from that person. That’s similar to the position we’re in when we’re alienated from God.
But the good news is that Jesus has made it possible for us to be friends with Him by His death on the cross.
He has reconciled us to Himself so that we’re no longer His enemies. Instead, He calls us, His friends (John 15:15).
He’s a friend we can depend on, even at one o’clock in the morning. A friend we can share anything with without fear of judgment. He’s a friend who deeplyloves and cares about us, and not for what we know or for the stuff we’ve accomplished.
That’s the kind of friend Jesus wants to be for us.
So, what’s our part?
First, we need to repent (this literally means, to change our mind and our behavior). This is the kind of response that says: “Lord, if you really died for me – and I believe that you did – then, I want to live the way you want me to live.”
Second, we need to receive His gift. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12) Ourrelationship with God isn’t anything that we can earn. We just need to receive and believe.
2. Jesus wants to make us holy and whole. (v. 22b-23)
To present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation…
Jesus has already freed us from the penalty and the power of sin – which is death. And He makes us holy the moment we receive His gift. Inthat moment, we’re justified and it’s as if we’ve never sinned. We are forgiven of our sins and pure in His eyes.
But, He doesn’t stop there. The Spirit of God wants to practically work out what’s already true of us. He wants to address the dysfunction in us – torepair our heart and soul.
God wants to make us whole.
Our part? We must actively persevere in our faith.
…if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.
This just isn’t an intellectual assent of “I believe in Jesus.” It’s entrusting our full mind, emotions and will to God.
Jesus said: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
This Christmas season, Jesus just doesn’t simply want us to know about Him or to try harder to be good, moral people. God wants for us to be Hisfriends, and to make us whole so that we can be the people He made and designed us to become.
For additional information and free resources related to this topic, browse our Small Group resources, or listen online to our Weekday Radio.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the senior pastor of Venture Christian Church in Los Gatos, California, and teaching pastor and president of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including "The Real God," "Culture Shock" and "The Real Heaven." Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and eleven grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip