From Pastor Davies – 12/13
Christmas is a time for gifts. There is such a strong emphasis on gift giving that many stores began decorating their aisles for Christmas even before Halloween. I do not need to remind you that there are only eleven shopping days left until Christmas Day.
One of the common expressions which I hear at Christmas is this: “I really don’t know what to get her. She has everything she needs.” I would like to suggest three gifts which we can give to each other. These gifts will be well received by the person who has everything as well as by the person whose life is lived in modest terms. These are the gifts which everyone would like to receive this Christmas. But you won’t find them online or in the sales ads of your Sunday newspaper.
The first gift we can give to each other is the gift of FORGIVENESS. I have never met anyone who did not need to be forgiven for some deed which worked to the disadvantage of someone else. For, “to err is human.” All people stand in need of forgiveness. It is a gift which we all want to receive.
The Apostle Paul wrote: “Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:13). Remember – when you give the gift of forgiveness you are giving a gift to yourself. You are going to feel better when you have purged from your mind and heart the grudges which have drained your energy. May it be that on Christ’s birthday you will be able to say, “On this, the birthday of the Prince of Peace, I at peace with everyone.” When you give the gift of forgiveness you will become a happier and better person.
A second gift to give at Christmas is what may be called the gift of IDENTIFICATION. This is the ability to let someone else know that you understand what it is like to stand in his/her shoes. It means that you are able to feel the sorrows of others, to share the joy and success of others, and to understand the problems of others. Perhaps this is what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, “clothe yourselves with compassion” (Colossians 3:12).
With the coming of Jesus Christ the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. God identified with human life and its problems. The gift of identification which we have received from Christ is the gift which we must give to others. When you give this gift, you will become a better person, your family will be stronger, and your community will be at peace.
But the most important gift you can give to others is the gift of LOVE. Without love, no other gift is acceptable. Love must be given in the family, the office, the school, the church, and the community. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
Custom and tradition demand that you put something under the Christmas tree. This year consider giving the gift of yourself to others. Give the more important gifts: forgiveness, identification, and love. You’ll be richly blessed by your efforts. And others will be touched in a very special way by your actions.