To give a gift
Christmas. A season of giving. At this time of year there is something stirred within us to want to give something of significance to those we care for. We want to give a gift that will make a loved one smile, make them feel valued. Perhaps a gift to take their breath away and a card that speaks what our words can not always express.
Or maybe you are looking for a gift to let someone know you appreciate them — maybe for a job well done, or for kindness shown to you, or because you want to reciprocate for what they have given you in the past. There are many types of gifts and reasons to give them.
I have heard it said that Christians give gifts at Christmas time because it is at this season we remember the gift that was given to us through the coming of Jesus to this earth. He gave freely to us the ultimate gift of Himself, forgiveness and freedom. There is nothing that will ever compare to that gift. When I look again at the reasons I give gifts I can not help but see a discrepancy between my gift giving as opposed to how God gave. Do the people you bestow gifts on love you back? Do they make you feel important, have they done something for you in the past, or by just being themselves make you believe that they merit your generosity? How very UNLIKE the way God gave to us. While we were yet sinners, having done nothing to merit good standing in God’s eyes, even then He chose to present us with the greatest of gifts.
What would our community look like if we chose to look at people the way God does? To bestow upon them gifts of love, compassion and our presence the way God has given these to us? What if when we gave these gifts people saw Jesus through us?
God calls us to hard things. To love others, both the friend and the enemy, the well-off and those living in poverty. He calls us to make room around the table for our family, friends and the stranger. He calls us to lay aside our own ambitions and to lend a hand to those who struggle. He calls us to forgive — again and again and again. He asks us to do hard things with messy people in difficult situations. Just as He did.
God did not gift us from heaven — He gifted us Jesus who lived among us, in the mess and brokenness, in our humanity and sinfulness. And now we the church, the redeemed but still struggling with selfishness and brokenness are to carry this gift of hope to the rest of the world as we live with them in the midst of their “stuff.”
Sometimes our world seems beyond hope, sometimes people seem beyond loving. Most times it will not be easy to walk alongside our neighbour, set a place at the table for the hungry and homeless, and forgive again. Sometimes it will not be easy to believe that this is really what we are called to do. But it is and we should not settle for lesser calls on us.
Christmas means that God was willing to come into a dark place and bring the light of salvation. Because of Him, salvation is available to all of us. Because of you and me following His example and call, the greatest gift of all can be given to our neighbours.
Here are a few ways that you can give a gift to our community this season. The gift of your time and your presence and the opportunity to be amongst those that we are called to share the greatest gift with.
Dec 18th. Hope Mission’s Kids in Action Christmas Dinner 4:30 – 7:30pm. Serving dinner and visiting with kids and their family member. This is a celebration evening!
Dec 22. Christmas at the Dawe 5:30 – 7:30pm. Come and spend some time with Dawe students and Staff . We will be helping students create a Christmas keepsake and be a part of their Christmas party.
Please contact myself LaurieW@CrossRoadsChurch.ca if you are able to participate in either of the above events. These are great opportunities for families, friends and small groups to serve together.
The Mustard Seed Red Deer TheSeed.ca/Red Deer offers opportunities to be a part of their Christmas blessings to those in our city who are in need of encouragement and relationship as well.
Merry Christmas. May the eyes of our hearts be opened this season to the people around us and our hearts give freely of the gifts that matter most.