THOUGHTS ON CHRISTMAS 12/19/2002

Henry Van Dyke wrote, "The birth of Jesus is the sunrise in the Bible." What a glorious morning preceded by a miraculous star in the heavens. The angels sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among all." The Son of Righteousness was born, God was with us in person; the gift of eternal life was given to us that first Christmas morning! Our lives were forever changed for the better.

With the birth of Jesus Christ, God taught us how to give selflessly, to give of ourselves freely. Whatever gift we give, we should give it to the person with the greatest need, expecting nothing in return. As Jesus said, "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or your rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and you will be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just." (St. Luke 14:12-24)

Discussing what to give her aging, and ailing father for Christmas, one woman said, "Iím going to give daddy time Ė much more time!" What a wonderful and rare gift! We love our old folks but have, or think we have, little time to give them. When one is quite old and has only time, a little bit more of it from friends and loved ones is the most precious gift they can receive, or that we can give. The most personal, most appreciated, and most unique gift that you can give is the gift of time. Your time! The valuable twenty-four hours a day that only you can spend.

A little girl once said, "I donít have any gifts. I canít sing, I canít paint, and I know I canít write poetry. I just donít have any gifts to give!" "Yes, you do Ė it shines out all over you," her mother quickly replied. "You have one of the best gifts of all Ė the gift of friendship. You just instinctively know how to be friends with people." The gift of a true friend is a great and priceless gift!

When youíre asked, "What did you get for Christmas?" You can answer "I got Christ as my Savior and Lord! And because I received Him, I give my time, my friendship, my love, my care, my concern, my forgiveness, and understanding to all." Truly, we are forever changed by the Birth of Jesus Christ!

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