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.