Christmas Day is nearly upon us. For some, this is a happy and joyous day, as we spend time with friends and family to share our love for one another.
We’ll enjoy a meal together, exchange a present or two and, hopefully, give praise and thanks to our Father in Heaven in celebration of the miraculous birth of His Baby Boy… whom He sent to us to save us from ourselves and cleanse us of our sin. Truly this, is something we should celebrate.
For others, this day is not so joyous. Some have misplaced their focus on what this day is really all about. Perhaps they have lost someone they loved; maybe lost their job or their home; they may not even have a single friend they can spend this day with and feel nothing but darkness and cold all around them… wondering where their next meal may come from.
The Bible encourages us to give. There are many verses in the scriptures that tell us how giving is good, serving multiple purposes, as well as pleasing our God.
Proverbs 11:25 – “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
Clearly Solomon here tells us how we will prosper from giving, refreshing ourselves as well as those we choose to give to. After all, doesn’t it bring you great satisfaction to see the look on your loved-one’s face as they open the little treasure you have chosen for them? Of course it does, who wouldn’t want to bring a smile, or look of excitement, to the face of someone they so deeply love?
Sadly though, in today’s world, we’ve overlooked God’s purpose of giving and have turned the practice around to be more of a competition, trying to “beat” last year’s gifts and out-spend one another in order to present the greatest gift!
This isn’t what God intended. We all know of the miracle of Jesus’ birth, and the humility that surrounded it, as well as the rest of His life. We were meant to be as Him… humble!
Humility is not in a Mercedes; not in a diamond ring or necklace; not in a new cell phone or gaming console… all of these things are not giving with humility but, instead, giving as the world would have us give.
What’s the Question?
So, I’ve been asked, what is the greatest gift to give? Where can I buy a present so great, I might bring joy to my spouse; my child; my very good friend? Is it going to cost me a lot of money? What’s the best store to shop at?
In answering, let me turn to Luke, in my Bible, and remind you all of what John The Baptist told all those who followed him, searching for redemption in God’s eyes.
Luke 3:11 – “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”
This is pretty simple, don’t you think? We all complain about how little we have and don’t even think about those that have so much less! To those in need, what we have is riches beyond their reach.
We have a roof over our heads; food on our tables; clothes on our backs; and people that care for us surrounding us. They, on the other hand, may not have half as much as this… yet yearn for it badly!
Have you Lost Christmas?
The people in need, cannot see what you may see in this Holiday. As a matter of fact, you may not even see, or have forgotten, what this glorious day is truly all about.
Perhaps, you too, have lost your Christmas spirit as the not “so fortunate” have, and actually dread this day as you don’t like what it has become in the world today. I get that… I kind of feel the same way every year, just as you do.
I’d like to ask you to listen to this song. Listen to the words very carefully and see if you get the message it is trying to convey… as the lyrics and intensity of the music changes.
WHERE ARE YOU, CHRISTMAS?
Did you listen? Did you hear where the words changed and the mood picked-up? I’m talking about where it sings about love and caring! Do you get what the “greatest gift” is yet? Don’t worry, I’ve got more clues for you!
What Jesus Said
As we know, Jesus was a humble man. He is still the only man in our age that was free from sin; pure at heart; sincere in love; and forgiving in all things… yet He knew who He was to His Father in Heaven, and what He represented to us.
Taken from John 8:12…
John 8:12 – “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
With all the gifts that Christ gave us while He was with us here on earth (sight to the blind; hearing to the deaf; healing to the sick), this… in this Pastor’s humble opinion, was the greatest gift of all!
He was the “light of the world” and continues to be so today in all who have chosen to believe in Him and follow the lessons He brought to us to follow… becoming closer to God!
Through Him, we will never walk in darkness and sin again! We have been forgiven through His sacrifice! How great a gift was this… the Light of Christ!
The Jewish Understand
We, as Christians, celebrate the birth of our Savior, our Jewish Brothers and Sisters also have a celebration this week!
Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights and it remembers the rededication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, in Israel. This happened in the 160s BCE/BC (before Jesus was born). … During Hanukkah, on each of the eight nights, a candle is lit in a special menorah (candelabra) called a ‘hanukkiyah’.
This celebration began on Sunday evening (12/22) and ends on Monday 12/30.
I have heard it asked, “should the lighting of the Menorah start with 1 to 8 or 8 to 1?” I recently heard a Rabbi give the best answer I could understand to this question.
She stated they start with one and increase the light through the week. “We increase the light as we increase the holiness!” So, I see the answer as 1 to 8, getting ever-so brighter as the holiness of God surrounds us all throughout the week!
More on The Light
Okay, remember I asked if you understood what the “greatest gift” is? I’ve got another clue, along with good news for you.
Let’s turn to Matthew 5, and hear what Jesus said we are and what we are to be to others.
Matthew 5:14-16 – “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Isn’t that great news? The light that Jesus is to us, He also gave to us… “the light!” He passed what “gift” we are supposed to give to one another. Friend or foe; Brother or Sister; Mother or Father; Son or Daughter… we give the light that Jesus gave to us, to one another!
The Greatest Gift
Do you yet understand how great this gift is? Don’t think it’s enough… as special as it should be? Then I don’t think you’ve thought about it long enough!
I am here to remind you today; just how special your “light” is to others and how it is the “greatest gift” you could possibly give to anyone.
God Made Us Unique, by His Own Hands…
From King David…
Psalm 139:13-14 – “You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.”
From the great Prophet Isaiah…
Isaiah 64:8 – “Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
Not enough? How about what modern science tells us… just a couple of examples:
- Our DNA – You all know about your DNA, right? How unique it is; it’s ours alone… shared by no other person on the planet?
- Our Fingerprints – Here’s another one indicating how unique we are. Science tells us that our fingerprints are “our fingerprints,” and there is nobody else in this world that shares this feature of ours aside from us.
There is your proof… “amazingly and miraculously made!”
Get it yet? Okay, let me try and help you understand a little bit more before I wrap things up today so I can get on with thanking God for the gift of His Son.
So, you see now how Jesus was the Light of the World… and He has passed this gift on to us! We are unique, formed by the hands of God… with characteristics nobody else shares! When you ask yourself, “What should I give this year?” Give them you!
- Let your light shine on their darkness, allowing them to see their way on God’s path!
- Turn their bleakness into joy as Jesus rejoices with you!
- Bring the cold a jacket! Bring the hungry a meal! Bring the thirsty a drink!
Give them you!
- Open your eyes to what they may see!
- Open your ears to what they may hear!
- Understand how they might feel and have compassion on their heartache!
- Hold their hand and let them feel your warmth!
- Take them in your arms and let them feel the Love inside of you… which has been given to you by The Christ!
- Kiss their skin and let them know they mean something to you and, therefore, they mean something to God as only He has given you this gift!
Let the Love of God and forgiveness of Christ fill your hearts this year. You are unique and any gift you give is yours, and yours alone! You can’t buy that at Walmart… and you can’t put a price on the gift of YOU!
God Bless you All on this, the Glorious Birthday of our Lord and Savior! Give Thanks… Amen!