This Christmas has been so peaceful. This weekend John and drove around and looked at Christmas lights, we did some Christmas baking (although I had a few kitchen disasters. The cookie press and me didn’t get along very well) and we enjoyed a great message about the true meaning of Christmas during church on Sunday (more on that in just a minute).
When you are in the process of adopting a child from a country that lives on $2 or less a day, you celebrate Christmas differently.
In the past I have spent the weeks before Christmas frantically trying to decide what to get the people on my Christmas list. I have dropped a few hints to John about what I wanted to find in my stocking on Christmas morning. Brightly colored packages tied up with bows could be found under our tree. But this year has been different.
There are only five gifts under our tree and none of them are for John or me. Our gift will be the precious baby we bring home from Ethiopia.
The things that used to fill our Christmas list seem selfish and unnecessary. This Christmas our heart’s desire is to bring our baby (or babies) home. We desire to be the hands and feet of Jesus; to open our eyes to the needs that surround us here in our own community and around the world.
God has blessed us with so many gifts that we so often take for granted. Things like running water, a warm home, our ability to go to the doctor and get medical care. This Christmas, John and I are humbled that our Savior has chosen us to travel across the world to bring home a baby that is in desperate need of a family, love and hope for the future. We are thankful that through this adoption, we have grown closer to Jesus and have seen Christmas through His eyes.
We had a wonderful church service Sunday filled with Christmas hymns and a wonderful message about the Wise Men and the part they played in the Christmas story.
I had no idea that the Wise Men were not Christians; they were not religious men. But yet, God chose them to be a part of the Christmas Story and we can learn several things from them.
First of all, the Wise Men had one reason for going to see baby Jesus. They were going to worship Him. (Matthew 2:2)
We need to make Christmas about worship. We need to remember that Jesus IS enough!
The second lesson we can learn from the Wise Men is to give the right gifts.
“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11)
On Sunday I learned something new about the gifts that the Wise Men bestowed upon baby Jesus. They each were very significant.
Gold was a gift for kings – Revelation 19:16 says “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS”
Incense was a gift for priests – Hebrews 4:14 says “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.”
Myrrh was used to prepare bodies for burial. John 19:39-40 says “Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance to Jewish burial customs.”
Are we giving the right gifts this Christmas season? I know I struggled with this question on Saturday when John and I were trying to find gifts to use during the Silly Santa Exchange we do with my family on Christmas Eve. I didn’t like my gift idea and I was really frustrated trying to come up with something for the game. I kind of let my frustrations with finding the right gift get in the way of enjoying Christmas for the right reasons.
Instead of just giving pretty packages, why don’t we give of ourselves? Why don’t we pray for people; give them the gift of hope.
Jesus really is the BEST gift of all! Share Him with everyone you come in contact with this Christmas.
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace
to men on whom his favor rests..."