Christmas Day is fast approaching and I’m betting you’ve seen grown-ups scurrying around at the last minute, looking for the best presents. Maybe you’ve been doing some “best present” thinking yourself. We want our gifts to tell the person we’re giving them to, “I thought of you when I saw this.”
But some of the best presents don’t come from the store. They’re not advertised in a flyer, seen on TV, or taken from the shelf. Instead, these presents come from your heart.
Generosity – This is the time of year when people really need our help. I know you have seen the big black buckets and heard the ringing at the entrance to many stores. How many times have you passed that black bucket, thinking you don’t have enough to share or that someone else will give? Why not you? Even if it’s just a few coins, God can take what little we give and multiply it.
While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins. “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” Luke 21:1-4 (NLT)
Kindness – This is the time of year when kindness is in short supply. There are just too many things to do, too many places to be. But giving the gift of kindness doesn’t take much. A simple thank you, helping someone with their packages, baking some cookies for the widow across the street, offering to shovel sidewalks or watch toddlers so their parents can shop in peace. These are small acts of kindness that can make a big difference for someone.
“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Luke 6:38 (NLT)
Encouragement – This is often an overlooked gift. And it can be given so easily. A “way to go” when a classmate receives an award, a “you can do it” when a friend is learning something new, an “I believe in you” when someone is facing a tough situation, a hug when someone is feeling down.
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6 (NLT)
Forgiveness – This particular present is often difficult to give. It’s hard to forgive someone when we have been hurt. But think about how you have been forgiven. Is there someone in your life who you need to forgive? A friend who told your secret or a teacher who gave you a bad grade you didn’t think you deserved. Maybe it’s Mom or Dad in need of your forgiveness. What a wonderful gift to give them this year.
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37 (NLT)
Prayer – Jesus has told us to take everything to the Father in prayer. He has promised to listen and to answer. Sometimes prayer doesn’t change the situation right away, but it always changes us. You can give no greater gift to your dad or mom than to send up prayer on their behalf. The Lord loves families and He loves to hear and answer the prayers of His faithful children.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16 (NLT)
We are entering the final days until we celebrate the greatest present of all, God’s only Son sent to earth so that we could have hope of eternal life. Can you just imagine what that gift was like! And just as the angels and shepherds and wise men celebrated this gift, we celebrate it too, over 2000 years later. Have a glorious Christmas and may the Lord bless you with the best presents.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11 (NLT)
A Stander in Nebraska