December 9, 2008
Mary Southerland Today’s Truth
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.” John 3:16 (NIV)
Friend to Friend
Already out of money for Christmas gifts? Exhausted and tired of crowds, malls and traffic jams? Wondering how you can possibly get it all done before December 25? Maybe it is time to stop, refocus and consider the ways we can truly celebrate Christmas by learning how to give – the right way – and in doing so, experience a Christmas season filled with joy and peace instead of chaos and discontent. Are we giving the wrong gifts or are we giving gifts to the wrong people? Maybe the problem is that we have never received the real gift of Christmas in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. True giving is based on a personal experience with Him. Before we can truly give, we must truly receive. God gave the greatest gift of all when He gave Jesus.
Christmas is not a date on the calendar. It is a way of life - but like the innkeeper, we have put up a sign in our heart and mind that reads, “No room!” Oh, we can participate in the holiday festivities of the Christmas season, but until we receive the gift of Jesus, we will never truly experience Christmas on December 25, or any other day of the year. Jesus could have been born into a palace. His first home on earth could have been a mansion. He was, after all, a King. Instead, He came to a dirty smelly manger and His birth was announced by shepherds instead of Kings - the greatest of all miracles in the midst of total simplicity. Today, Jesus still wants to meet us in the midst of our simple daily lives. It seems too easy and too good to be true, doesn’t it?
It was Christmas Eve and the family was preparing to attend the special service of their local church. Everyone was going except Dad, who was an honest man, a man who could not seem to wrap his logical mind around the story of God come to earth as a baby in a manger. He didn’t want to be a hypocrite, pretending to worship a Savior he wasn’t sure even existed, so he stayed home, built a fire to dispel the bitter cold of that winter night and began to read the paper, waiting for his family’s return. Hearing a knock at the window, he turned to see a tiny bird trying to reach the warmth of the fire. The man opened the window but the bird refused to come in. Grabbing his coat, he went out to the barn and opened the doors wide – but still, the bird refused to come in. The man thought, “If only I could be a bird, for just one minute, I could lead the bird to safety.” At that moment, he heard the church bells ring and for the first time, he understood why Jesus came to earth as a man, to become one of us so He could lead us to eternal safety.
I believe Christmas has a longing in it placed there by God; a longing for home, a longing for Him that can never be satisfied outside of our decision to receive God’s gift to us, Jesus Christ, His one and only Son. Jesus is the reason we can celebrate Christmas and life itself.
Thank You, God, for sending Your Son to earth as a tiny baby in a manger. Today, I choose to celebrate His birth and Your gift of life He brings. I choose to receive Your gift of love and forgiveness for my sins. I now surrender everything I am or ever hope to be to You. Please take control of my life and direct my paths. I promise to follow. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Now It’s Your Turn
More from the Girlfriends
Sharon, Gwen and I pray that your life is filled with God’s peace and joy this holiday season. Don’t settle for the world’s shallow viewpoint of Christmas. Instead, receive God’s gift of love and kneel before the manger, giving your life to Him. Need help with choosing meaningful Christmas gifts? Are you on a tight budget? Check out my two MP3s, Giving the Perfect Gift and The Secret of a Merry Christmas or grab a book and CD for that last minute gift.
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.