Do you remember when you lost the joy of Christmas?
Or, if you are reading this and you still have it (God bless you!), do you realize how hard it is to keep the simple wonder and true meaning of Christmas?
In the middle of Christmas parties, ugly sweaters, tons of food, and even the allure of a new Star Wars movie, this season has become packed full of activities and consumerism. It is so easy to miss the joy and wonder of GOD being born as a human child. God with us.
The Father gave His Son. Before the Magi were invited to bow in worship and give their gifts, the Father gave His Son – God is with us. He was born, grew, taught the way of life, and overcame death. This is the season of giving.
Jesus taught “It is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35). I remember the first time I heard that as a child, and thought, “That can’t be right!” Giving was great and all, but every kid knows it is better to receive a gift! I loved Christmas as a child – loved the lights (still do), the presents, the anticipation, the wonder. As I got older, much of the wonder was lost in the busyness and the buying. I tell myself that the frenzy is for my family, to create a sense of wonder for them, but I am starting to think I have missed the point. God is inviting me to understand the gift of giving.
God so loved the world that He GAVE His only Son (John 3:16). We are invited to accept this gift – to have Jesus in our hearts and to know that we are forgiven and loved. We are also invited to live this gift – and become givers ourselves. This is the gift of giving, learning to follow Jesus and become givers. This is why Jesus tells His followers to GIVE up their lives to truly find them (Luke 17:33). This is what the Magi understood – they had been given a gift to follow the star and see the King – they worshiped the King and gave Him gifts. God’s gifts can unlock our hearts to become givers.
As a child I didn’t understand that I could be more blessed to give than receive; I am starting to understand now. Giving sets us free, and elevates us above the rush and frenzy of the fa-la-la-idays. We can give God time each day to reflect and be grateful; thanking Him for the gift of His Son and the joy of each breath in our lungs. We can give our time and energy to serving God. We can give gifts to those we love, and to places around the world that are in need (something I am starting to really enjoy during Christmas). Many also give gifts to their church family at the end of the year (if you have a year-end gift, please contact the church office, as we will have limited office hours at the end of December). Following Jesus, we can accept His gift and become givers. We can live the gift of giving.
We can rediscover the joy and wonder of Christmas – as givers.
Giving is a gift, an invitation to a blessed life. Open the gift, and be blessed.