The word Christmas comes from Middle English Cristemasse, which in turn comes from Old English Cristes-messe, literally meaning Christ’s Mass. Regardless of the “official” meaning of the word, the Christmas season holds many memories. Bright twinkling lights, pine trees, nativity scenes, crisply wrapped gifts, overwhelming tables of food, Christmas carols, family gatherings, candlelight services, etc. Festive memories that bring joy to so many. For me these memories fill my heart with thoughts of Christmas past. Unfortunately, many of those things may not be part of my holiday in 2020. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will certainly have a different feel this year.
After a year of intermittent social isolation, fear and strife it might be easy to forget that this Christmas is the perfect opportunity to give a gift to everyone you know. It need not break the bank, over extend credit cards or require a second mortgage.
God’s Christmas gift to us, was Himself. (Phil 2 6-7) He came to us as a small vulnerable child and grew among us to walk as we do through this world. An unbelievably gracious act of love that required no money, wrapping paper, decorations or food. His gift continued to give throughout His earthly life. Continually encouraging us to love each other as He loved us. Even those that were “socially outcast” were frequent recipients of His love and mercy.
While I am unable to match the gift given to me that first Christmas,(salvation) I can follow Jesus’ example of loving my neighbor as myself. A card, a smile, a kind word, a prayer, a helpful act are all gifts from me to those around me. Giving of myself, even in small things, could be the best Christmas present ever. I know from past experience that those gifts have the most impact on the giver. Opening my heart to others and giving of myself is the one time I feel like I am truly following His command to “love God with my whole heart and to love my neighbor as myself.” (Luke 10:27)
“Lord Jesus, please open my heart and my eyes to all those who need, this Christmas and beyond. I pray that You would give me the courage, compassion, boldness and strength to be the gift you intended me to be when you created me. Jesus, you showed me that Your love was not limited to the deserving, prominent or popular. Your love was extended to all and You demonstrated how that love held the healing power so needed in the world then and now. Use me Lord to be a conduit for Your love that points people to You and Your incredible gift of salvation.
In Your Holy Name, I pray.”