Free gift for you - give it away!
Free gifts making their way through our very busy letterboxes at this time of year – wow! Free cards, pens, gift tags, even calendars. Of course they are not really free, simply a novel way of asking us to support a charity or organisation.
After you have picked these up off your mat you are possibly on your way to organise or attend a special Christmas event, or prepare a Christmas message and two of the scriptures that are bound to come up during this month are Luke 2:11 “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to YOU; he is Christ the Lord.” and Isaiah 9:6 “For to US a child is born, to US a son is given…” "TO YOU", "TO US".
TO YOU (personal), do we get so busy over Christmas that we forget the message was not just to them, the world, the lost, the unsaved, the unchurched, but still applies to YOU (personally) today? Some years ago I preached a message which I called ‘living a stress-free Christmas’. As you can imagine, just the title provoked a non-too encouraging response, particularly from those who were imagining the workload of presents, cards, children’s parties and adult dinners as well as church events which were bound to add to their ever increasing list of things to do and buy. The point of my message was not to ignore the busyness of December, rather to try to think ahead and give ourselves time to take in the message of the Virgin birth for ourselves, for it was to YOU that this gift of a swaddling wrapped baby was given, for YOU that this child would grow and introduce His Father and for YOU that this baby was destined to die on a cross. So take some time, not just to enjoy gifts from family and friends, countless turkey dinners and cracker jokes (by the way have I told you about the turkey that crossed the road? Oh never mind!). Take time to look afresh into the manger, see that child looking at you and remember to YOU (personally), he was given.
However, our message to others is; it was TO US (plural). My mother was of an age that, if she received an unwanted gift, she would keep it in a drawer so that next Christmas it would be passed on to some unsuspecting friend or relation. The worst present that I could receive was a box of chocolates, because it was expected that they would be passed around to countless visitors and I would be left with the ones no one else wanted. The wonder of the gift given to YOU (and me) is that we can keep it as well as pass it on to others in our communities at a time of year when they may be more open to receiving.
So there you have it! Enjoy the gift of Christ in a fresh new way for yourself and pass it on with a fresh thought that the gift is for others but also for you!