Friday, December 24, 2010

The Advent - Jesus

Christmas.  A time when a lot of people hurry around trying to find the best gift, cook the best food, wear the best clothes, try to outdo previous years.  But is that truly what Christmas is about?  
This morning on The Today Show I saw an interview with a mom and her son.  They were being interviewed about a video of the son receiving books for Christmas last year.  I think I’ve even seen several posts on Facebook of the video.  The video shows this child pitching a fit over getting books for Christmas.  Everyone laughed and thought it was cute.  I, however, was appalled.  Instead of posting a video of the tantrum and laughing at the kid, the parents, in my opinion, should have used this as a “teaching moment” for their child.  A time to teach him that not all children wake up to gifts on Christmas, that not all children sleep in a warm bed every night, that not all children have loving families.  Yes, I know the child was only three...but I have seen three year olds who know what Christmas is all about and who would be glad to receive books for Christmas.  And they knew this because they were taught this.  After the interview, the anchor gave the child a present.  It was a talking Woody doll from Toy Story 3.  Was the child appreciative?  Nope.  Yet again, instead of graciously receiving the gift, he commented that he already had one of these dolls.  His mom did tell him to say thank you, but you could tell he hadn’t learned the lesson from last year.  
Now I’m not dissing the parents.  I have no idea what goes on in their home or what they teach their child.  But I do know that over the last several years I’ve seen a decrease in genuine good old decency.  Thank you and please are not spoken as often.  Doors are not help open for others.  Smiles are sometimes non-existent.  Giving is only done if it benefits the giver as a tax write-off.  The mentality is “get what’s mine while I can.”  And this video of this child is a prime example.  All I know is that if I would have had that reaction to a gift at Christmas, I wouldn’t have received the rest of my gifts and I probably would have had a sore rear end.  I was taught gratitude.  And I really hope that for this kid’s sake, someone teaches him the same soon.  
Jesus came to bring us life.  He came so that we could live forever.  What if He had thrown a tantrum every time something didn’t go His way?  When God sent Him to be born in a manger in a smelly barn...when people called him a liar...when someone didn’t believe His message...when the crowd screamed out for Him to be crucified...  No, His life wasn’t easy.  Neither is ours.  But Jesus was our example.  He showed love and compassion and gratitude to those around Him.  His sacrifice was for ALL people...regardless of race or gender or denomination or whatever other barrier we try to put up.  And for that we should be thankful.  Thankful...  Do we get everything we want in life?  I don’t, so I’m sure you don’t either.  But when I ask for one thing and God gives me another, what do I do?  What do you do?  Do you kick and scream and throw a tantrum?  Or do you tell God you are thankful for His provision and for His knowledge that what we want and what we need are not always the same things?
This Christmas, I hope you will let the light of Jesus shine through you.  I hope you will take a moment to give to others.  I hope you will be willing to give to someone who has nothing.  It may come in the form of money, a gift, a meal, opening your home.  It may be as simple as saying thank you or smiling or holding that door open.  Whatever it is, give.  For it is in giving that we receive.  
I pray this Christmas you will be thankful for what you have and the gifts you receive.  Even if, like the little boy, you get books when you asked for a toy.  After all, the greatest gift we could ever receive was given to us so many years ago...a a manger....who came to die for our sins and bring us eternal life.  Doesn’t that make every other gift we could ever receive pale in comparison?
Merry Christmas!  May the peace and love of Jesus fill your hearts and homes this season!
Luke 2
1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.  4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)   5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.  6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.  8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.  18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.  20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

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