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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Gifts!

We all like gifts. From the time we are born, we get gifts for Birthday, Anniversary, graduations, wedding, baby shower, and Christmas. All gift worthy occasions! Why do we give gifts? We give gifts to honor the recipient, to share in others joy, and to tell them we love them. We are social creatures. We enjoy other people. Gift giving is one of the oldest traditions, and was common behavior even before we were an advanced culture.

Gifts were common as tributes to rulers of the land. We honor someone else, but we are the ones who feel gratified and happier about ourselves. The giving of a gift is emotional, selfless, and it takes time and thought. This time of year is a time for Christmas gifts, which may have come about because The Magi brought gifts to Jesus.

We run ourselves ragged, fight crowds, and spend money we don't have to find the perfect gifts. Why did that become such a big deal? Unless everyone was born on Christmas Day, it is not their birthday. The Bible says in Matthew 2:1-11, the Wise men came and inquired where to find the King of the Jews. They traveled far and saw Jesus days or weeks after He was born. Did they bring gifts to set an example? No. Did they bring gifts to exchange with others, or among themselves? No. When it is someone's Birthday, do you give gifts to the rest of the family? No. We honor only the Birthday person.

When the Magi saw Jesus, they fell down and worshipped Him. They presented gifts of gold, which was very costly, frankensence for one who would rule, and myrrh, for one who would need burial oil. People of the east never approached the presence of Kings or great people without gifts. It was their custom, but it wasn't their gifts that were precious to Jesus; it was that they fell down and worshipped Him.

The custom we have developed into a fine art of Christmas exchange has no Biblical basis. It is actually a pagan custom. I am not trying to be your Christmas Grinch! I like presents as much as any of you. What I have come to at this point in my life, is that gifts are not my focus. As I walk closer to Jesus, my Christmas is simpler, less hassle, and I am able to focus on the greatest gift you or I could ever receive. Without that gift of Christ, we would celebrate mas. Not much meaning in that, is there?

I love Christmas lights, cookies, music, and yes presents, but I love Jesus more. I used to bake many kinds of cookies, shop, wrap, decorate, make candy, and make myself tired, and stressed. I like now much better. A few decorations, a few gifts, no cookies or candy, more time with the true meaning,of this Holiday.

This year, God has shown me something I never thought of before. What would Jesus want for His Birthday? Jesus wants us to give to others, enjoy our families, and be blessed with good things, including His Grace! Back to my question....what does Jesus want? He desires your heart. Christmas is an ideal time to give Him the gift of YOU! Maybe you gave Him your heart years ago, but maybe you never have. Maybe you are thinking, "What does that even mean?" 

It simply means you accept Jesus as your Savior, and your Lord. It has nothing to do with religion, or going to Church. It is about a personal relationship with Jesus. You acknowledge that He is God's son, sent to earth, died on a cross for your sin, and came back to life, and ascended back to Heaven. You ask Him to forgive your sins, and you give Him your heart, your life. He is in control, and will lead you and teach you where He wants you to go. You give all to Him, He has a plan for your life. He will give you a reborn life. 

You get to be a child of  God, and you are assured your place in Heaven. By giving Jesus your heart today, you receive His gift of Grace. I would love to have you as my brother or sister in Christ, and live in Heaven with you one day. Until that time, I'll just wish you a very Merry Christmas!