Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Merry Christmas To All

Matthew 2:11

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

RayMcDMerry Christmas to all! I want to wish each and every one a Merry Christmas. May God bless you real good today and I don’t mean with some gift that someone may or may not be giving you! I mean with the love of Christ and the love of Christ working through you and others.

I’ve been writing most of the month about Christmas (have you enjoyed the Christmas Praises folks have shared?). I prepared for a long weekend this year with Christmas Eve on a Saturday and Christmas on a Sunday. My Christmas Eve is usually pretty busy with three services (4 – 7 – 11 pm). I will not arrive home – once I leave for church – until well past 1 am on Christmas Day. There is a part of me that is glad that we don’t have little ones to prepare for on Christmas morning (at home – not counting the grandchildren) – because this old salt would be one tired puppy if I had to put together a bunch of Christmas toys or bikes before the children woke. On the other hand – I will miss the joy of seeing little children opening their gifts and their giggles as they find something special under the tree for them! I hope the grandchildren give me that thrill again this year or real soon.

As I sip on my hot chocolate and listen to Pentatonix sing Christmas songs on YouTube I am reminded of the gifts that we give and receive at Christmas. Gifts have been a part of Christmas since the first Christmas!

Gifts at Christmas seem to stem from the greatest gift ever given – the gift of Christ’s birth – and the gifts that those from the east brought to the Christ child. Too often the Wise Men are seen at the nativity scene when in actuality they more than likely came much later – after Christ’s birth – as the family returned home. The passage today suggests that they came to the house – not the manger scene. They bought their gifts to the child rather than the babe in the manger. The star led them to where He lived rather than where He was born. But this little tidbit doesn’t seem that important – really – in the whole picture. They came and offered gifts to Jesus to celebrate His birth. The birth of the promised One. The birth of the Messiah. The birth of the One that would be the Savior of the world. It was Jesus’ birthday and they brought Him gifts.

I believe we do our children a disservice when we focus so much on the gifts they get rather than the gift we all received in Christ! After all – as one child told me at church one Christmas Eve – why should we get gifts on Jesus’ birthday anyway! Out of the mouth of babes!  That child’s parents sure taught them well for sure.

Today – the greatest gift ever given – the love of our heavenly Father to offer us His Son is where our hearts should be focused. The birth of Christ is God’s way of offering us the gift of life because Jesus – the babe in the manger – became the Man on the Cross – and gave us the free gift of salvation. Without the birth there would be no Lamb of God that takes away the sins the world. Without the birth – the sinless birth and life – there would be no atonement for our sins. We would all be headed to hell without the birth of Christ. We would all be lost in our sin – without the birth of Christ. Now that was one amazing gift. I mean – I used my bike (one of my favorite Christmas gifts) for about 10 years or so – I still have a teddy bear I got when I was like 4 or 5 – I have some gifts that have lasted for a few years – but this gift is over 2,000 years old and is still giving to others today!

As we open gifts – remember Jesus – the greatest gift ever given and celebrate your salvation! May your week be a blessing.

Just something for us to think about today as you go on your way.

December 26, 2016 - Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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