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24. December 2017 · Comments Off on CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT GIVING · Categories: Christmas · Tags: ,

The other day I heard a television personality say that the “real meaning of Christmas is giving”. Those of us who know and believe the biblical account of the incarnation know that this is true.  Christmas is about giving.  Not just because the three wise men gave gifts to Jesus, but because “God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Christmas is about giving.

But not everyone has received the memo.  As we watch the world around us settling down to “keep Christmas” and as we saw the overcrowded shopping malls in the past days, it would appear that Christmas is more about getting than it is about giving. Indeed, that is how most of us were introduced to Christmas:  we learned to eagerly anticipate it because Christmas Eve, or Christmas morning, depending on your tradition meant a vast assortment of brightly wrapped gifts.  At least it was so, as long as I can remember.  I also remember that some gifts were more appreciated than others, depending on how young or mature we were.  We used to “feel” the gifts before unwrapping them.  If it was soft, it was something that we needed, like pajamas or maybe a shirt or socks.  But if it was hard and rattled, then maybe – just maybe it would be something on our wish list.  And some gifts we received depending on whether we were “naughty or nice” – as if a gift could be earned! Christmas is about getting, but before we can receive, someone had to give, and we figured out soon enough that it wasn’t Santa Claus or “Christkind” as my German heritage taught.

Some people dispense with giving and receiving with gifts altogether, taking the giving and getting out of the equation.  There’s nothing wrong with that, nor is it necessarily more right. When people ask me what I want for Christmas, I always say that I have everything that I need.  I used to tell my congregations, that the best gift that they can give me is to follow the Lord and live in His ways.  That always meant so much more to me than all of the “that was a lovely sermon” comments, and certainly more than the collection of ties, pens, and bric bracs that I have collected over the years. (Although I do have to admit that I miss the tasty treats that people used to leave outside my office door).

When it comes to giving, nobody can out do God.  He gave all of Himself, so that we might receive and have everything, and become joint heirs with Jesus forever.  Certainly God does not need anything that we give Him, but in His grace He receives what we offer Him out of love and gratitude.  And he also receives us when we bring Him our life of brokenness – and even our doubts. 

May everyone experience the true meaning of Christmas this year and always!

 

 

 

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