When I was a child, Christmas meant my adored grandparents arriving on Christmas Eve with piles of presents to add to the mound that was already under the tree. My mother, and her mother, believed in giving many gifts. They weren't expensive or fancy — often it was clothes that we needed — but they were abundant. Considering that my sister and I were the only children in the family, it was quite excessive — not that we complained!
When my two children came along, I continued that tradition. Our Christmas trees were almost hidden by the wrapped boxes and packages. But after they left home and moved many miles away, my husband and I didn't exchange gifts, either with each other or with any of our family. By that time, we all had more than we needed. Instead, we donated to mission projects, helped a needy family, or participated in an organization that provided gifts for the families of those in prison.
Looking back on those years when I was a child and my children were young, I wish that we — both my parents and I — had concentrated more on giving to others instead of creating piles of presents that were often forgotten or discarded within a few months. I wish that we had chosen a mission project, found a needy family to bless, served dinner at the rescue mission, or even taken a mission trip. It would have helped all of us to appreciate the message of Christmas and to demonstrate to others why Jesus came to earth that night in that stable.
Luke 2:10 – And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." (ESV)
He came to bring great joy. Do we have great joy in the news of His birth? If so, then how can we share that joy with everyone we encounter? Even gently replying, "Merry Christmas" to someone who wishes us "Happy holidays" can be a small message that we know the joy of Christmas.
Mark 10:45 – For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (ESV)
He came to serve and to give His life as a sacrifice for our sins. That little baby in that messy manger grew up to become our Saviour, to die on the cross for us. If He, as the perfect Man, came to serve, shouldn't we follow that example? There are so many ways that we can serve others any time of the year, but opportunities are especially abundant during the Christmas season. Let's focus on Jesus this season and help others to do the same.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son. Thank You for His willingness to come to earth to show us love, to give us a reason for joy, and to die on the cross for us. Help us to share our joy in receiving and knowing Your Son with everyone that we meet during this blessed season. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "The Birthday Of A King" (Lyrics)