What is the best Christmas gift you have ever given? What is the best you have received?
Each year, Americans spend billions of dollars and millions of hours shopping, all in hopes of giving and receiving great gifts. With each passing season, a new trendy gift emerges. Who among us could forget the Pet Rock, the “Cabbage Patch” dolls, or the first year the iPod was available?
Yet in spite of our best efforts, even the most special and appreciated gifts wear out, break or end up in a garage sale. This Christmas, we, instead, can focus on the permanent things, the matters of eternal consequence. Just what are those we can give and receive?
The holidays mean more time to spend with family members and those we claim to love most. Yet those with whom we have the closest connection are often the ones we hurt most. This Christmas, choose to let go of any past grievances and forgive those who may have hurt you, and watch the Lord release you from bitterness, resentment and regret (Col. 3:13). Only good can come of a gift like this.
For every person who needs to give forgiveness, there is another who needs to receive it. Many people are not willing to forgive themselves for past sins, even when God has already forgiven them. This Christmas, there may be someone in your life to whom you can pronounce this forgiveness from God and help them walk in a deeper way with Christ (Acts 10:43-44).
The Apostle Paul, in his epistles, went out of his way to express that he offers up prayers for God’s people (Phil. 1) and asks for their prayers (Eph. 6). There is perhaps no greater blessing than knowing someone is praying for you.
This Christmas, take time out of your busy holiday schedule to pray for someone in need. Once you do, you could send that person a card and let them know you are praying for them. Even more, you could remind the person that Jesus, during His earthly ministry, prayed for His disciples and other people like you and me. He said, “I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message” (John 17:20). How powerful it is to think that the Lord Himself prayed for us!
In “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the beloved Charlie Brown tries to wade through the hype and commercialization of Christmas to find out the real reason for the season. His friend Linus, quoting the Gospel of Luke, cuts to the heart of matter and recites the story of the birth of Christ.
This Peanuts cartoon captures the greatest gift we can give at Christmas, and that is to share the life-changing Good News of Jesus Christ. This Christmas, take time to speak the words of life to someone—a child, neighbor, friend, family member or co-worker. Remind them that while Christmas is all about giving and the ultimate gift God gave in Jesus Christ, Christmas is, in the end, all about receiving.
Thanks be to God, we each have the opportunity to receive this Gift, the Savior of the world, Who is “God with Us.”
Merry Christmas and God bless you!