For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)
We are in the “home stretch” of the Christmas buying season. Days are slipping by as we count down to Christmas. Most people, often women, take great care in trying to get good things for their loved ones, spending hours, even days, searching out just the right gifts. Some men I have known have spent up to 20 minutes trying to find the right gift before resorting to the tried-and-true gift certificate. Hey, people appreciate them!
If buying gifts were all that Christmas was about, we would indeed be the most miserable of people. I truly enjoy giving gifts to people, but that, of course, is not the essence of Christmas. Christmas is truly an invasion of the heart with a renewed spirit. The first Christmas was an invasion of earth by the visitation of Jesus born in the flesh. This invasion was little noted at the time, being witnessed only by a select few people who scarcely knew what to make of the occasion. From that humble invasion came a spirit that we now know as God’s idea of how to show real love. Christmas giving is meant to be an expression of love to one another, shown that day some 2000 years ago.
So the expression of love, which is the real idea here, can be done in many ways, only one of which is physical gift giving. We can give the gift of life by listening closely and intently to others, especially in their time of need. We can give the gift of life by a word of encouragement to others when they look a little defeated by the day’s worries. We can give the gift of life to people without a word, but through a glance and a smile, or maybe a nod of approval.
In the next few days before Christmas, try a little experiment. When you are sitting in a meeting, a group setting, church, or some other gathering where someone is a speaker, look directly at the speaker, give a little smile, and nod approval. You will have just given to that speaker a little gift of life.
Most people reading this column have already sent their Christmas cards for the year. However, I encourage another experiment. During the rest of the year, send a card of encouragement periodically to people, for no apparent reason other than to affirm them. You will be sending life to them.
So as we settle into the commemoration of the gift of life that God has given to the world, let us give the gift of life to others. Have a merry and blessed Christmas!
Prayer: Lord, help us to spread the giving spirit of Christmas all year, Amen