Have you finished your Christmas shopping?? Do you have any idea how much money people spend at Christmas? I don't know if you have the same practice, but every year our family gets together for Christmas morning to open the gifts; and every year the room seems so crowded with gifts there is hardly room for the family. And, every year we say, “Next year we're cutting back on the number of gifts” ~ but we never do.
I realize I'm old, but things have changed considerably from when I was a child. Perhaps some of you “seniors” can relate. My father was a mail-carrier and we (my mother, father, three older sisters, and myself) lived in a two-bedroom ~ one bath, bungalow in central Illinois. Christmas meant that I would receive one or possibly two Christmas presents. Our first activity on Christmas morning was to go to church – regardless of the day of the week. We would have a “Christmas Service” and all the kids would receive an apple or an orange, and a small box of hard Christmas candy. Afterward, we would come home and open our present, or presents. At the time, I didn't realize that we were “poor” as no one had explained that to me. I had great gratitude and appreciation for the gift received; and would protect it and care for it as a “prized possession.” At 83, I still have an electric train and part of an “erector set” I received way back then! All of that was great, but the thing I enjoyed most was giving a gift to my Mother. Like so many other boys, I had a paper route, and mowed lawns, earning a little money during the year. In December, I would empty my bank and go to what we considered an “elite” store to buy my Mother a gift. It was always a fancy dish or piece of crystal, and I couldn't wait for my Mother to open the package and see the joy in her face. It taught me a valuable lesson that is pointed out in:
Acts_20:35: “and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Luke_6:38: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
I believe “giving” is the secret behind living an “abundant Life”! It pleases God, it pleases the recipient, and it pleases you!
Luke_11:11: If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
Luke_11:13: If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
John 15:13: Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Matthew_20:28: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Luke_22:19: And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
John_13:34: A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
John_14:27: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Acts_2:38: Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
As you can see, giving is emphasized in the Bible. It should be a prominent characteristic of every Christian. When you think of what our Lord and Savior has given to us, it boggles the mind. Jesus, the creator of all things agreed to leave the splendor of heaven (a place so wonderful, we can’t even imagine it), and come to earth (a tiny speck in the universe) as a servant. He lived a perfect, sinless life and at the very prime of that life, He was rejected, beaten, spit upon, mocked and crucified. He didn’t have to accept that kind of treatment—He was God. He willingly allowed it to happen, laying down his body as a sacrifice for our sin. He was selfless, always giving of Himself--teaching, healing, loving, feeding, rescuing, showing the right way to live. We know that on the third day, He rose from the dead and forty days later ascended back to heaven, sitting at the right hand of God the Father. He will return one day to take us with Him to that wonderful place. This is the “Gift” Christmas is all about.
Most of us spend quite a bit of money at Christmas time to give gifts to family and friends. We mean it as a symbol of our love and appreciation for them, but the real truth is the gift doesn’t last that long. A few months or years and it is forgotten, obsolete, lost, or thrown away. The most precious gift you could give anyone is the Gift of Christmas ~ Jesus! Tell them the good news; that He became a baby in Bethlehem, just so He could become the perfect, Holy sacrifice for our sins. He loves them, and if they accept and believe in Him, He will give them Joy, Peace, Hope, and Life—all that this world and any amount of money can never offer. This gift is eternal ~ it will last forever and will always satisfy.
If you haven’t accepted this most precious Gift, I pray you will right now. This Gift is always available. All you have to do is accept it and believe! Have a Blessed Christmas!