Zion Baptist Church
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Baptist Missionary Association of America
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By Mrs. Connie Reifsteck - December 2010
Giving At Christmas
We try to instill a mindset of thankfulness when we celebrate Thanksgiving. We express thanks for health. We express thanks for our children doing well. We express thanks for having a job. We are thankful for our church and our church family. We want to at least take that one day and be appreciative of all the good things God has done for us.
Unfortunately, it seems that before Thanksgiving is over, we start worrying about Christmas. What kind of presents should we buy? Will there be enough money to get what I want, or will I “make do”? And there are all those charitable organizations that really push at Christmas for contributions, and I want to give them all something, I really do, but I just don’t have enough resources! And that makes me feel resentful about this “giving” season.
Perhaps we need to go back to Thanksgiving and be grateful and let peace fill our thoughts and direct our actions this Christmas. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” (Colossians 3:15) Let God rule in your heart. He will help you keep your thoughts where they need to be. Keep an attitude of thankfulness.
Of all the holidays we enjoy, Christmas should be Christ-centered, the holiday when we set our hearts and minds on things above. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2) Those who have been risen to Christ have been called to a separated life. We should not worry over the worldly things in this season. We should decide that commercialism will not spoil the holiday message of God’s love for us. God’s gift to us was to send His Son to earth so we could be with Him for eternity.
It is easy to get wrapped up (pardon the pun) in the presents we exchange at Christmas. The more expensive or beautiful the gift, the better we think it is. But, God’s Word tells us that material things are not important. They do not last. “The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the Lord trieth the hearts.” (Proverbs 17:3) God is concerned with the state of our hearts, and that should be our primary concern also. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, don’t let that dictate your feelings at Christmas. Sometimes a heartfelt deed or a homemade gift will mean much more to the recipient than the biggest, best, most expensive thing you could have bought.
Our giving should not be a thing to show off. “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:3-4) That seems pretty clear instruction to give in secret. Many people give so their gift will be seen by many people, and they will be praised. Oh look what he did! But we just read here in Matthew to give in secret. God sees all that we do, and we will answer to Him for all that we do. Whatever man may think of our gifts here on earth will have no bearing on God’s judgment. This Christmas think about what you can do for someone else. Start this month with a spirit of giving, and keep it up all through the month. Do things this Christmas that will let others see Christ working in you. This is a form of worship to God. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Our deeds are a reflection of God for other people to see. Let them see the very best.
At Christmas we sing “Joy to the World, the Lord has come”. We have joy because we know the love of Christ and the hope He has given us. When times are hard and things are bad, we will have that love of Christ, and can reach for the joy He gives us. “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:10-11) Maybe this year you can find a way to focus on others that will make them have a more joyful experience, while letting them know of the joy Christ has given you.
Christmas is a good time to remember your salvation experience and share that with others. Some of us have close family members who are not saved. Our journey of faith is personal to each of us, but perhaps someone you share with will see some common threads and be drawn to Christ through your telling about your experiences. Let the people you love know how you came to know Christ, and what the gift of God’s Son means to you. “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)
Christmas is the time we celebrate the birth of Christ, the Son of God. God loves us so much He sent His son to earth as a baby, planning on His sacrificial death as an adult, so that we might be saved. The greatest gift we can give, or share, at Christmas is to tell others about Christ, why we celebrate His birth, and how salvation has come to us. God’s love is so very great, and His love endures forever! Telling of this love is the greatest gift we can give to another person. “O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.”