through His Word
by Jeannie Waters
The brown paper sack of cornmeal was the most unusual Christmas present I’d ever received. Terry, a shy first grader, placed the unwrapped gift on my desk. I knew that his grandparents sold homemade cornmeal; I suspected giving a bag away was a sacrifice.
I cringed when a saucy little girl in the class wrinkled her nose, pointed to the cornmeal, and asked, “What is THAT? That’s not a Christmas present!”
Noticing Terry’s downcast eyes and slumped shoulders, I cradled the sack in my hands and responded, “It’s cornmeal that Terry’s grandpa made. Now my family can have the best cornbread in town!” The boy’s clear blue eyes peered up at me, and a slight smile brightened his face when I added, “Thank you so much, Terry.”
That sack of cornmeal was a sacrifice, the best Terry had to offer.
Terry’s package reminds me of the gift Jesus commended. “This poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood” (Mark 12:43-44 NKJV*). Her sacrifice, although of little monetary significance, was valuable.
The value of giving is illustrated numerous times in Scripture. We know that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). God gave His Son Jesus, who was crowned with honor in the manger and with thorns on the cross. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Daily, our loving Father provides unmerited gifts of mercy, love, forgiveness, and guidance for His children. How can we include the Master Giver in our Christmas celebration?
After praying, “Lord, what gift do You want this year?”, I found the answer in Matthew 22:37-39. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” God desires the gift of our love and the gift of sharing His love with others.
How can we express love for God and neighbors? Acts of kindness and simple items can honor the Lord and bless other people.
Here are some acts of kindness I’ve observed:
- A family of four spent every Christmas Eve singing carols with residents of nursing homes.
- Working holiday hours for employees with out-of-state family, a senior newspaper editor gave up part of his vacation.
- Families opened their homes to international college students who couldn’t travel to their native countries during Christmas break, while others provided food for guests in the Ronald McDonald House.
- In a military community, groups offered fellowship for the families of deployed soldiers.
Meaningful gifts accompanied by a Biblical Christmas card might include a devotional book, a donation to a Christ-centered ministry in honor of a friend, a Christmas puzzle and hot chocolate mix, an Amaryllis bulb in a ceramic container, or a set including a book light, soft socks, and a bookmark.
Speaking of shopping, do you find that the season can become hectic and over scheduled? I surely do. Intentionally reserving time for Bible study and family relaxation is wise, while remembering 2 Corinthians 9:7, which says, “Let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Let’s consider the following ideas as we pray for guidance this Christmas:
Ways to Express Love to God
- Designate a daily time to offer praise to God and seek His wisdom about use of holiday time.
- Invite neighbors and co-workers to join you in worship at church services.
- Light Advent wreath candles weekly and read from a devotional.
- Sing carols as worship to Immanuel.
- Read about the birth of Jesus in the Bible and thank Him for the gift of salvation.
Ways to Share His Love with Others
- Schedule lunch or a Christmas event with a friend who has no family close by.
- Select an appropriate devotional for a teen.
- Invite neighbors for coffee and distribute Christmas cards with Bible verses.
- Give candy canes and cards to sanitation workers and the mail carrier.
- Purchase gifts for foster children.
Would you add your ideas in the comment section below? I look forward to your responses and pray that your Christmas is filled with the joy of loving the Lord and sharing His love with others.
“Advent is focus on faith that God comes among us
bearing gifts through us.”
-- Sarah Hornsby
*All Scripture verses are taken from the NKJV.
© Copyright 2017 by Jeannie Waters
Jeannie Waters loves sharing encouragement face-to-face and through writing devotions and articles. She is a wife, mom, grandmother, and retired teacher who currently teaches English as a Second Language at a local college. She adores picnics, mountain streams, and meeting new people.
Subscribers, comment here.Christmas, gifts, love, What Does God Want This Christmas?, Jeannie Waters, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies