“Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.” -Luke 2:8-12, The Christmas Story, from The Message Bible
The Give-Away Box
At the retreat center where I work we keep a Give-Away box as well as a Lost and Found box. The Give-Away box is plain and simple. It is a plastic storage container. The administration people will call the guests who stayed in a room and accidentally left one or more items behind when they checked out. Often, a guest will tell them to give their stuff to charity. Charity is the “Give-Away” box!
I have found stuff in there. Some of it is really good. If it looks like something that someone I know is in need of, such as in the church, I will take the stuff home for the ones in need and put an offer out; they can take it or leave it but the choice is theirs. It feels good to be able to share this gift, hoping that this will fill a real place of need in someone's life. It feels good to be able to pass along a gift that someone else started in motion, even if I never saw the giver in person.
How does this relate to the Christmas season and beyond? Well, God gave us a part of himself, something so plain and simple yet so profound in nature: the gift of Jesus! The baby Jesus came into a hurting world with no birth announcements. Most people in the world at that time did not even know about his birth. In those days his tiny little hands didn't seem to be holding gifts that would transform the world. In fact, at the time his life depended on a steady stream of what others could give to him: mother's milk, warmth, holding, consoling, cleaning, rocking, safety.
Yet Jesus would turn out to be the most amazing gift that the world has been given! Too often, we overlook the real meaning of Christmas by getting distracted by shallow, loud and meaningless stuff that comes our way at Christmastime, year after year. How about for this Christmas we focus our attention instead on the low-key birth of Jesus? Jesus was not born in extravagance. He was born in a simple and smelly stable among farm animals. His family had to major hotel chain to stay in when they were far away from home.
Yet over time the gift of Jesus began to change lives, change the way we saw God. Jesus would come shining a bright light into our lives. He would come to eradicate the darkness and show the world the true meaning of faith, hope, and love. This Gift is yours by grace. Have you made it your choice to receive? Have you made it your choice to share this gift with others?
Prayer: Thank you, God, for sending a tiny child into the world as a gift that would grow up and change the world. Thank you for making the Good News of your love known to us by Jesus. Please help us during this busy time of year to keep our eyes on the gift of Jesus to the world. In doing so, help us experience the miracle that in giving away to others the Good News of Jesus' Christ, it comes to us even stronger. We pray these things in Jesus name, Amen
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