Luke 2:8-12 There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of
Friend to Friend
Already out of money for Christmas gifts? Exhausted and tired of crowds, malls and traffic jams? Wondering how you can possibly get it all done before December 25? Stop! Take some time to refocus and consider how to celebrate Christmas – the right way. I believe the secret to a joy-filled Christmas is found in giving.
· Maybe we are giving the wrong gifts.
· Maybe we are giving gifts to the wrong people.
· Maybe we are not giving the right gifts to the right people.
· Maybe we are not receiving the right gifts.
True giving is based on our personal experience with Jesus Christ. Before we can truly give, we must truly receive. God gave the greatest gift of all when He gave Jesus. The heart of Christmas can be found in another very familiar verse, a verse not often associated with Christmas.
John "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son”
Christmas is not a date on the calendar, my friend. It is a way of life - but like the innkeeper, we have put up a sign that reads, “No room!” Oh, we can participate in the festivities of the Christmas season, but until we receive the gift of Jesus, we will never truly experience Christmas on December 25, or any other day of the year. Jesus could have been born into a palace. His first home on earth could have been a mansion. He was, after all, a King. Instead, He came to a dirty smelly manger and His birth was announced by shepherds instead of Kings - the greatest of all miracles in the midst of total simplicity.
Today, Jesus still wants to meet us in the midst of our simple daily lives. It seems too easy and too good to be true, doesn’t it? It was Christmas Eve and the family was preparing to attend the church service. Everyone was going – except Dad – who was an honest man, a man who couldn’t understand the story of the baby in a manger. He didn’t want to be a hypocrite, so he stayed home, built a fire and began to read the paper, waiting for his family’s return. Hearing a knock at the window, he turned to see a bird trying to get to the warmth of the fire. The man opened the window but the bird refused to come in. Grabbing his coat, he went out to the barn and opened the doors wide – but still, the bird refused to come in. The man thought, “If only I could be a bird, for just one minute, I could lead the bird to safety”. At that moment, he heard the church bells ring and for the first time, he understood why Jesus came to earth as a man, to become one of us so He could lead us to eternal safety.
I believe that Christmas has a longing in it placed there by God; a longing for home, a longing for Him. That longing can never be satisfied outside of our decision to receive God’s gift to us, Jesus, the reason we can celebrate His birth, the reason we can celebrate life.
Thank you, God, for sending your Son to earth as a tiny baby in a manger. Today, I choose to celebrate His birth and Your gift of life He brings. I choose to receive Your gift of love and forgiveness for my sins. I surrender everything I am or ever hope to be to You. Please take control of my life and direct my paths. I promise to follow. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Now it's Your Turn
Read John 3:16. Contemplate the love described in this verse. Have you ever experienced that kind of love?
What do you think it means to “believe” in God? How would that belief affect your daily life?
Examine this verse in light of your own journey. What decision do you need to make in response to the truths in this verse?
What gift do you really want this Christmas?
More from the Girlfriends:
We pray that this Christmas season is your best one yet! Don’t settle for the world’s shallow viewpoint. Instead, receive God’s gift of love and kneel before the manger, giving your life to Him. If you make that decision, we would love to hear from you and send you some materials that will help you grow in your relationship with God. Email us!
For more on this topic, see Mary’s new book, Escaping the Stress Trap.
Girlfriends in God, Inc.