Monday, December 10, 2012

The First Gift of Christmas

Over the weekend I started to get "wrapped-up" in the Christmas Holiday - I know... silly pun...but seriously I was wrapping a few presents and two thoughts came to mind again:

1- I could never make extra money wrapping gifts as I'm pretty horrible!
2- I was reminded again and thankful that Jesus was and is the first gift of Christmas!

Sometimes I think as I wrap gifts what it must have been like for Mary to wrap Jesus (The Gift) in swaddling clothes and as she pondered in her heart all she was told by the Angel when she learned she was going to be pregnant via the Holy Spirit with the Son of God and then it actually came to pass and she held Him in her arms!?

As you wrap and unwrap gifts this year may you think of the eternal gift of salvation that was wrapped for you and that you can unwrapped freely as you repent (or maybe already have) and believe in Christ as your Savior!

With this I wanted to share a devotional I wrote a few years back. It's a tradition that I share it with you every year. :-)

I trust that it will be an encouragement to you as you fix your eyes on The Reason for this Christmas Season! Check out the below when you have a few moments.

Your Brother and Servant,



"The First Gift of Christmas"
By Randolph Koch
The Word:

Read Luke 1:5 - 2:40
Additional Reading:  Matthew 2:1-12

"The First Gift of Christmas"

    As we approach each Christmas season, it becomes more evident that the world we live in has a completely different reason for and idea of Christmas. From the commercials, to the shopping mall decorations, to the yearly hot toy or gadget items that everyone says you’ve just got to have. It seems that everywhere we turn is devoid of the truth of Christmas. I'm not attempting to be cynical but it seems that Christmas gets more watered down every year - sometimes even in our churches!

     For many, Christmas becomes merely a time to exchange gifts - as many as possible. Or for others it becomes a time of year to share good tidings/do good deeds (not that there's anything wrong with that), as if they shouldn’t all year through. Unfortunately for some it becomes a competition regarding how many gifts a person receives. The number of gifts to them equates to how great or how bad their Christmas was or wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, receiving and giving presents is a real blessing but I wonder how much is too much when it comes down to it. The same can be said about how much we decorate or indulge in the name of “Christmas”. These things can be a lot of fun and with the right focus can make things memorable as long as we don’t lose sight of the truth of Christmas. There are so many things that can be trappings of the season or blessings depending on whose hands they’re in. Again, don't get me wrong, God wants us to enjoy these times of the year but we have to do it responsibly. 
     I'm reminded of the time someone asked me whether or not it’s our personal responsibility to seek out the true meaning of Christmas? What a wonderful question! I replied to the effect that yes indeed it is our responsibility to celebrate and keep the true meaning of Christmas at the center of our Christmas celebration!
     Yet, some still focus on the gifts because of the gifts the wisemen brought or other reasons, but I would submit that we should focus on “The gift” of Christmas, Jesus Christ Himself. Celebrate His birth, life, death, and resurrection.  
     Jesus is and was the first gift of Christmas. In fact, He is and was the long awaited Gift of Christmas and without Christ, there would be no matter what the World would says!
     Let us draw near to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and treasure all that He is. He’s the best gift we can ever have and the full expression of God’s love for us. We need to take our focus off ourselves and our mere gift receiving / giving, and place it back where it should be - on Jesus! Furthermore, let us help our friends and loved ones know His love and that He is the reason for Christmas. He is in the very name of the holiday but sadly many just don’t see Him, yet. 
     No matter what you do every Christmas, may you strive to worship the Lord for the most important birthday celebration and gift we can ever receive. 
Let us never forget that Jesus is the first and foremost gift of Christmas!

Questions to Get Started With:
-What is Christmas really all about?
-Is Jesus Christ the center of your Christmas?
-What can you do differently each year to make Christmas more meaningful?
-What are some of the things you already do to make your Christmas meaningful?
-Is it bad to enjoy the holiday festivities?
-Is it our personal responsibility to seek out the true meaning of Christmas?

Suggestions for the The Christmas Holiday:
1. Just before you open your presents on Christmas day or Christmas Eve, pray and give thanks for Jesus and for all of God’s goodness in your life.
2. Also before you open your gifts read the Luke 2 account of the Birth of Christ.
3. Make a Birthday cake for Jesus and sing happy birthday to Him!
4. Go to candlelight or other Christmas Eve service as it’s a great opportunity to worship and prepare for Christmas day.
5. Throughout the Christmas season, get involved in your community through
a clothing or food drive, or possibly help at shelter, etc.
6. Incorporate things into your Christmas to take to focus off gifts and yourself.
 (I.E. Serving others, Celebrating Advent, etc)  
Whatever you do, make Jesus the center of your celebration!


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