Listen to this devotional:
Matthew 2:14-15a – So [Joseph] got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. (NIV)
For years, prior to Christmas, we have filled a special box for a child. It is a joy to do it, for I do not have grandchildren of my own on which to lavish my love. Instead, I think of a little girl or boy in a land far away receiving the lovingly selected items, drawing them out one by one. What gives a child real joy? Can I give such joy to a child this Christmas?
Real joy is a gift of the Spirit of Jesus, as is gladness and the happiness of sharing. Yet, there is real joy in giving away an item. Carefully looking it over brings back memories of my own childhood Christmases. We rarely got anything under the tree that had to be bought. During World War II there was no money for anything extra. One Christmas, my brother's discarded crib was carefully cut in two to become two doll's cribs — one for my sister's doll and one for my own.
Yes, it's the giver's love that makes a gift special. So, in completing the Christmas list this year, it is the love of our Saviour that makes all our gifts special. It is something that we ponder over, day after day, and watch for specials. We think everything over very carefully: what shall we give so and so this year? As the years go by, it is hard to come up with that special item, yet the gift of Christ draws closer and closer to our hearts.
This morning, I was writing a little message on a card to enclose in this year's Christmas box. I really thought over what to say that would touch the heart of a six-year-old girl, living in poverty, far away. I wrote of the boy Jesus growing up and playing with other boys and girls His age. We know very little about the boyhood of Jesus. Yes, His early years were spent in Egypt, but did He play with other children? Surely He did. So what would it feel like for a little six-year-old girl to play with Jesus? Sheer joy? Yes!
We need to spend time with Jesus every day, not just on Christmas Day. He plays with us not only when we are young, but loves us very much. His very presence is a wondrous gift.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, we come to ask You to play with us, to spend time with us. Much of our lives is like a game with too much acting. We need You to take us by the hand and lead us through this day, we pray. May we give pleasure to other people as we meet and share Your love with all Your people: little ones and ancient ones. We all need You! In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.