Monday, December 5, 2022
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "We Three Kings Of Orient Are"1 (Lyrics)

I moved to Nederland last year, and due to COVID-19, I did not celebrate any Christmas or New Year's Day festivals. This year, I found myself so excited about anticipating the coming of Sinterklaas, a legendary figure based on Saint Nicholas, patron saint of children, whose name date is December 6th. He arrives by boat, supposedly from Spain, on the first Saturday after November 11th with his white horse, Amerigo, and his friend Piet. Children leave a shoe at the door every night and sing songs by the chimney in hope that Sinterklaas hears. They wait in anticipation to see what arrives in the morning, such as a candy, a speculaas cookie, a chocolate letter, a mandarin orange, or a small gift. On the evening of December 5th, they gather with friends and family for pakjesavond (gift evening). Sinterklaas leaves a sack filled with toys, but only if the children are good. So, for the whole period of Sinterklaas festival, the children are good and obedient because they want to receive gifts.

Luke 2:11-12 – Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. (NIV)

I found myself so caught up in the spirit of Sinterklaas that I lost track of the true meaning of Christmas. I was so focused on sharing in the tradition of Sinterklaas that I forgot the true gift at Christmas.

I was reminded by my friends that the spirit of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and to prepare ourselves for His soon return. We humble ourselves daily to God to thank Him for the sacrifice of sending His only Son in the form of a human being, so that we may be saved through Him.

John 3:17 – For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (NIV)

What can we do every day to prepare to meet Him when He returns? Through our actions, we can be kinder to others, pray together, speak the name of Jesus to those who do not know Him, sing hymns to Him, and reflect on His words, remembering that He is also watching us.

John 14:6 – Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (NIV)

We see through the Scriptures that the truth comes from God. Therefore, until the Lord returns, let us wait in anticipation, read His words, and be able to recognize Him when He arrives.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for the reminder through others that our focus at the Christmas season is to anticipate the celebration of the birth of Jesus and His soon return. By Your grace and through faith in You, we are to share in eternal glory. Help us to remember that the true meaning of Christmas is in Christ, and not to be caught up in the retail gifts of Christmas but in the gifts of the Spirit. Amen.

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About the author:

Donna Arcieri <>
South Holland, Netherlands

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the wise words, Donna.

    Beautiful Donna. Rich blessings X 3.

    Thank you, Donna, for reminding us of the real meaning of Christmas. Your move must have been quite an adjustment.

    Thank you for your devotional and thoughts from Netherlands.
    Have a blessed Advent and Christmas.

    Thank you, Donna, for today’s devotion.
    I liked it very much.
    (Quebec Canada)

    Merci Donna,
    “,,, and be able to recognize Him when He arrives.” These words, along with, “my sheep hear my voice,” touch on a divine mystery.

    Thank you so much for sharing and I believe this is the most important.
    Praise God. I ask prayer my grandchildren will learn this somehow by His Holy Spirit guiding by whom and how they really believe in Jesus.

    Hello Donna
    How exciting to move to the Netherlands. Their celebrations so fascinating for the children and yet sad that do not know the real gift of Christmas. We can get distracted for sure but thankful God gets us back on track. Have a blessed Christmas and I feel you have a divine purpose for the move there.
    God bless.

    Dear Donna,
    How delightful to hear your holiday experience from your country and all the special names you used to represent people and events of your culture.
    Your message is so true and thank you for reminding us to have anticipation for our Lord’s return as we celebrate His birth. Please write more. Be blessed.

    Thank you, Donna, for your very good words in today’s devotional. Yes, it is so important that we focus on Christ as the true meaning of Christmas rather than get carried away focusing on all the other retail ads and party activities. Focusing on the birth of Jesus is what is really important and what is best for our daily lives today and definitely for the times ahead. Blessings for your special writing and for sharing with us about your move to the Netherlands.

    Hi Donna,
    I really enjoyed your Devotional today, it gives us a reminder to not get caught up in all the gifts and shopping but to focus on the real gift of Jesus as a Baby born in a stable in the town of David. May we always keep our focus on Jesus and his return.
    Thanks for the great Devotional.
    (Ontario, Canada).

    Good morning, Donna,
    Thank you for your great devotional. You mentioned some things about Sinter Klaas I had forgotten, mind you my Sinter Klaas experiences were during the German occupation and were curtailed by the lack of almost anything. Would it be that more people would anticipate the celebration of the birth of Christ the Lord.

    Good morning, Donna,
    A big move can definitely throw us off and COVID, I think, affected us all in different ways. Thanks for sharing how Sinterklaas is celebrated in the Netherlands. It is great to learn how other countries celebrate.
    I think it is good that the two holidays are celebrated on very different days so that each will get enjoyed for the very different reasons that they exist. When they are celebrated on the same day, it is easier to not give each one the joy it deserves.
    Thanks for sharing and may you enjoy each holiday for the true meaning. Blessings.

    Our family celebrates Christmas Dec. 24th turkey, gifts under the Christmas tree but a very important part is the devotional where the Bible story of Jesus birth, music, and prayers celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

    Dear Donna,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience. It is interesting to hear about the traditions there, but the focus on Jesus is so right. And with all the humanizing and commercializing of Christmas in our world, it is so easy to become distracted! I really like your encouragement to seek the gifts of God – His Son, and the gifts of His Spirit!
    I hope you have a blessed and happy Christmas!
    In Christ,
    (BC, Canada)

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