Please notice that I used the word “Christmas,” not holiday. And while this is the holiday season, I much prefer the use of the word CHRISTMAS. After all, the entire holiday season for Christian is about Christ.
Too many people lose sight of that.
Two thousand plus years ago, this child was born in Bethlehem, a beautiful baby boy (for all babies are beautiful) and a true miracle. Little did anyone know how that child would change the world.
Think about it.
One baby…thirty three years of life on earth…billions of people’s lives touched and changed because of him. I’d love to calculate how many Christians over the course of the past two thousand years were impacted, supported, and drawn into faith because of this one baby that God chose to send to us because of his love for people.
In the history of time, I challenge you to find one person who has impacted humanity as much as God’s Son, Jesus.
To me, that is the special meaning of Christmas.
This year, I’m not giving gifts. I did not choose to do that because I’m a Scrooge. I’m doing that because the gift of Christmas is salvation, not an electronic gadget or new sweater or other little things. It’s so nice to give gifts to people, but I am choosing, instead, to gift to charity…to help walk with Jesus and spread his word by sending Bibles to people in countries or regions of the United States that do not have Bibles.
I had talked about doing this with Lisa at one point…going to a country to help spread the word, to talk about Jesus, to help people understand salvation. In today’s world, that’s just not practical.
Frankly, neither one of us are great flyers and, being human, I have my own fears about such a mission. (yea yea, I’m a chicken). But I can still touch people’s lives in a way that honors the true meaning of Christmas.
For my family, we will spend time together and that is the greatest gift of all which simply cannot be wrapped in a pretty little box with a bow on it.
One year, at church, I saw something that really drilled home my belief that even some Christians are missing the point of the holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. There had been an angel tree at the church and the people who selected the name to gift some items could only use a shoebox. They could put anything they wanted in the shoebox but nothing more. On this particular Sunday, the shoeboxes were given to the priest (I was at a Catholic church on this occasion). What I saw was most interesting. The women—for it was almost all women who participated in this—walked down the center aisle to hand in their shoebox. What I overheard from several women seated near me after they returned to their seats was shocking: they kept commenting on who had decorated the shoebox the best as well as the worse.
It dawned on me that, to the women in the pews, it didn’t matter what the gift was, but it mattered how pretty the box was! They also commented on who did not give at all!
I call this Shoebox Giving, making the effort but for all of the wrong reasons.
This year, I’m hoping to transfer the true meaning of Christmas to my children: give to those in need, but give what they actually need. A family living in poverty needs food, clothing, heat. Having a doll or baseball are very nice things for children, yes. But I know MY children do not need those things. What they need is compassion and empathy for others.
That’s the greatest gift I can give them.
And it won’t be wrapped in a shoebox…