Suppose you knew that this Christmas would be your last one on earth. Would it make a difference in how you celebrated, in the gifts that you give, and in the meaning of the day?
The answer, of course, would be yes. But how would it play out in your life?
Well, let’s start with the likelihood of whether or not this will actually be your last Christmas. You can look at things from a statistical perspective and conclude that this will probably not be your last one. But the matter of the length of life is not determined by statistical probabilities. The time of life is set by the will and plan of God. (Psalm 139:16) The truth is that we live at God’s pleasure and purpose. This means that it is wise to consider if this will be your last Christmas.
Christmas is the time when we celebrate the birth of Christ. We are in good company when we do. The Holy Spirit directed the Psalmist to pen Psalm 98 in anticipation of Christ’s birth. The praise of the Hosts of Heaven erupted making the announcement of the Christ child. So how much of your Christmas celebration is focused on the birth of your Savior? If this were your last Christmas how much of the celebration would you want to share with other things and other themes? The reality of knowing Christ secured eternity for you would dominate your Christmas with joy and gratitude.
What about the gifts you would give? The knowledge that this is your last Christmas would most likely shift the value of your gifts away from the material cost to the value of things eternal. In Luke 12 Christ urges that we value things that won’t wear out over things that do. So even when it is good to give those gifts that we can touch, see and enjoy you will want to attach significance to the truth that life is more than our time here on earth.
And then there is the matter of what does Christmas really mean. Lights and decorations can be wonderful. Then you realize more pointedly than ever that this last Christmas means that Jesus awaits instead of punishment and pain in hell. This last Christmas would bring a mixture of sadness and hope, of joy and sorrow. But Christmas marks the day when Jesus Christ began his human life of perfection. For thirty-three years he withstood the temptations of the enemy. By his splendid and glorious triumph he lived the life that would become our salvation and then he died the death that should have been ours.
No, you don’t know if this is your last Christmas. But it would be a wonderful gift to your family and to your Savior to live as if it was.