Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Gifts Christmas Is About

‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’  Matthew 25:35-38,40

A sweet young woman named Alex was diagnosed with the same disease I have when she was eleven years old. I haven't had a lot of trouble with my disease. At 25, she passed away on December 4th. Many of us are still reeling in shock.

An older man my husband and I know from our church is not fully able to take care of himself and is alone. At 73 years old, he suddenly lost almost everything he has, which isn't much, and he doesn't know what to do. I encounter people begging for money and food every few days and I live on the nice side of town.

When I get down about Christmas and the things I can't do anymore or what is lacking, it doesn't last very long when I think about the gifts that I have--the gifts that many take for granted. I have the gift of life. I have the gift of provision: a roof over my head, all the food I need, clothes, a warm bed, heat, even the phone and the internet. I can go to the doctor when I need to. There are so many basic needs that many are without.

Then I think about Jesus who was born in a manger with animals and grew up poor in a lower class working family. His father was a carpenter. He lived in a farming community in Nazareth. He chose to be poor all of his life and spent a good part of his life on the road serving others.

When I think about my Savior coming into the world in such a humble way, living the way he did and then going through torture and death for me, I see life in a different way. The basic needs that are met are gifts and something to be thankful for.

Not only that, but when I see people who don't have those basic needs, I know that God would want me to help how I can. He extends grace without question to us and wants us to do the same for others. Isn't that how we show Christ to others? Isn't that how we bring them in from the storm?

Luke 3:11 John replied, "Whoever has two tunics should share with him who has none, and whoever has food should do the same."

Maybe Christmas is about gifts, but not gifts under the tree. Christmas is about the gift of Jesus coming into the world and us celebrating by giving the gift of ourselves to share the light of God's love.

Whether you buy someone a meal, something to drink, pray with them, adopt a family, or say "God bless you", God's love is to be shared.

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