I asked Leigh O’Dell, who is featured in this issue, to do a special piece on Christmas for our readers. She graciously agreed to do so. The following is her message and I believe we should all share it with our families and friends during this time of year.
WHAT ARE YOU GIVING JESUS FOR CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR?
The Christmas season is a time of celebration – a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, to fellowship and enjoy family and friends, to give and receive gifts. As I prepare to celebrate Christmas, I love to think about what I will give each of my sixteen nieces and nephews. I think about what they would like, what would make them feel special, what they are interested in, and what I think they might need. I love trying to think of and find that “perfect” gift. After I have made my list, I then make preparations to get the gifts, wrap them, and make sure they are ready by Christmas Eve. It takes time and effort and going to malls (which I detest) and battling traffic (which is frustrating!), but I do it. Why? Because I love them! It is my pleasure because I love the recipient of the gift.
God loves us so much that He prepared the Perfect Gift for you and for me. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, that we might have the opportunity to be forgiven of our sins and to have the hope of heaven. What a gift! Matthew 2 tells the story of three kings or wise men that travelled a long distance to meet Jesus, the Christ Child. According to verse 11 when they entered the house where Jesus was living, “they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell to the ground and worshipped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” When they had a personal experience with the Living God, they bowed down in worship and gave Him gifts.
As I embark on the Christmas season this year, I want to follow the example of these three kings. I want to stop, step away from the busyness of life, and worship Jesus – worship Him in His glory, in His power and in His grace. I also want to follow their example of giving gifts to Jesus. As I spend time preparing gifts for my family, I want to prepare gifts for Jesus that I might express my love, adoration, and worship of Him. Have you considered what you might give Jesus for Christmas this year? Have you asked Him what He wants for His birthday? Have you made your list for Him? Here are a few “gift ideas” from His Word that you might consider:
The gift of yourself. If you have never placed your faith in Jesus, never acknowledged that you are a sinner and asked Him to forgive you of your sins, never entered into a personal relationship with Him, give Him the gift of yourself this Christmas, by placing your faith in Him and asking Him to be the Lord of your life. (John 3:16; 1 John 2:12)
Worship. Spend time alone worshiping the Lord for His goodness, exalting His holiness, and reverencing His majesty. (Ps. 95:1-7)
Repentance. Ask the Lord if there is anything in your life for which you need to ask His forgiveness, any habit or sin that you need to stop. If anything comes to mind, stop right now and ask the Lord for forgiveness. (2 Chron. 7:14; 1 John 1:9)
Service. Ask the Lord if there is any special act of service, kindness, or compassion that you might do this Christmas season in honor of Jesus, as a special gift to Him. (Romans 12:1-2)
Forgiveness. Maybe there is a broken relationship in your life that needs restoration and reconciliation. Maybe there is someone for whom you harbor bitterness and un-forgiveness. Follow Christ’s command this Christmas. In obedience, forgive, reach out to that person because of your love for Christ, and do all that you can in your power to restore the relationship. (Col. 3:13-14)
This Christmas season let’s not get caught up in commercialism and activity. Instead, lets focus on the One whose birthday we celebrate. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) What are you giving Jesus for Christmas this year?
December 1, 2009
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