Sunday, December 23, 2007
This Christmas season I've participated in a Christmas Concert that focused on Jesus as Light to a dark world, attended a wonderful program at Willow Creek, our local mega-church, that showed through drama and music how God our Creator promised a Savior to a broken world and that Savior is Jesus, and sung countless carols that tell this great news that is for all men.
Yet, all you have to do is open the local newspaper and read the countless ads to see that for many people the holiday isn't about God's gift to us but about our gifts to others, or what others will give to us. Every time a news program features children, an adult asks the kids what they want for Christmas. It starts early.
Don't get me wrong. I love giving gifts, and I love getting them too! But over the Christmas holidays, even for believers, it's not difficult to get caught up in the mindset of the commercialism that goes along with the holiday. How could we not? The stores have been decorated for months, Christmas music has been filling the airwaves since Halloween, and Santa is sitting on his throne in every mall in America asking little boys and girls what they want him to bring.
Today at church, 11 members of one family lit the last of the Advent candles. They are part of a larger extended family who will board a bus tomorrow for Greensburg, Kansas, the small town that was totally devastated by a tornado earlier this year. They will spend the week helping to rebuild the town, doing whatever needs doing, and funding it all with money they would have spent on gifts for each other. The family received a round of applause when they explained what they are about to do.
That family has taken the complaint that many often express about the over-commercialization of Christmas and put rubber to the road. The road that leads to Kansas. I know that God will use this time to not only help the people of Greensburg, but He will also use it to change each family member's heart forever.
I just wonder if next year my church will have more people doing their part to show the real meaning of Christmas by being Jesus with skin on to others rather than focusing on material gifts?
God gave the world His most precious gift of all, His only Son, Jesus, so that we can be reconciled with Him forever. The gift is priceless. Yet, no matter how large or small our bank account, after we've received the gift ourselves, we can turn around and give it to others. God provides the gift, but He involves us to share the Good News about it to others.
And what makes it even more wonderful is that it's a gift that can be given any day of the year. Not just on Christmas. Who will you give God's precious gift to this year?