Christmas: A Time for Giving - Luke 2:1-20
A visit to any shop from Bunnings to Target will leave you in no uncertain terms aware that Christmas is nearly upon us. The excitement that surrounds this wonderful time of year is beginning to grow, and increasingly our conversations about the plans and adventures that are in store for us across the break are starting up as students get the sense that Christmas is not too far away.
While I understand what it is that Christians get excited about when it comes to Christmas time, I wonder what it is about Christmas that resonates so strongly in the broader culture. In answer to this question, Pastor Charles Stanley suggests that the Christmas holidays are one of the happiest because people are more generous at Christmas than any other time of the year. Now I don't know if this is true, but I suspect that he is onto something.
The practice of giving at Christmas is not, however, a recent innovation. It began on the first Christmas when Jesus was born. Jesus was, in and of himself, a gift, but interestingly it is also true as Pastor Charles points out, everyone in the Christmas story had something to give:
When Mary submitted to God's plan, she gave her body to be the first home of the incarnated Savior (Luke 1:30-38).
She also surrendered her good reputation in order to fulfil the Lord's calling for her life.
Joseph offered his love and protection to Mary and the child who was not his own (Matt. 1:18-25).
An angel gave an announcement of the Messiah's birth to some lowly shepherds who were watching their flocks at night.
A heavenly host of angels offered praise and glory to God.
The shepherds shared the first personal testimony about the Messiah.
The wise men relinquished the comfort of home to seek the newborn King and give Him gifts worthy of royalty (Matt. 2:1-11).
Profoundly, these gifts may do not pertain only to the first Christmas, but each have application for us today. In simple terms, as believers, Pastor Charles says we “are called to give of ourselves to the Lord and to one another in similar ways.” My encouragement to you as you head into another Christmas season is to ask, what can you give? Not just to others but also to Christ.