It is a fine seasoning for joy to think of those we love.
It’s that time of year when we scurry through the shopping malls, scouring the shelves, attempting to find that ‘perfect’ gift. We curse as the parking lot is full of misparked vehicles and we’re forced to drive up row after row to find a spot we can barely shimmy into. We shove past the window shoppers as they lazily gaze at items, wondering if they would fit anyone’s fancy. In our heads, we shout at the stressed store clerks to ‘hurry up, hurry up’. Finally, out of desperation (and regardless of our age), we wearily climb up on Santa’s knee, looking to him for some last minute, very much needed guidance.
Sound familiar? We are all shopping for that perfect gift. But, in our haste, we overlook the most valuable gift ever … the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We should be spending our time preparing … expecting … listening … all the rest of this commercial craziness called holiday cheer is truly meaningless.
I want to share this poem, written a long time ago, by an unnamed author. Perhaps you will find it as meaningful as I do:
There’s no Christmas without Jesus; it’s to Him our eyes should see.
Not to jolly Old Saint Nicholas, not a glitt-ring Christmas tree!
Shops in town are decorated, decked in colors bright and gay.
Tinsel lights and shapes created merge into one grand display.
“There’s no Christmas without buying gifts and toys to give”, they say.
Oh, that they should be realizing all these things will fade away!
Santa Claus is just a story; reindeer never pulled his sleigh.
Why then, does he get the glory on this sacred, holy day?
But a baby in a manger really lived in Israel.
He was born to be our Savior; it’s His story we must tell!
He gave up all His heav’nly riches for to manifest His love!
Take the tinsel and the glitter and the santas all away,
For God’s love is far, far greater than this manmade grand display!
And when we stop to think about it, all the time that perfect gift is right before our very eyes; that perfect gift is within our very hearts! We are reminded to pause and find joy in Jesus’ birth, to feel the promise of peace and love only He can provide that will renew our hope is this crazy world of today.
Christmas is a time when we should all keep Christ at the top of our shopping list by honoring His presence in our lives. With every gift we receive, we need to take a moment to look up to the heavens … recall a shining star, a manger and the greatest gift of all … Jesus Savior, our Heavenly King … for there is no joy as deep, no hope as eternal, and no love as secure as that found in Jesus Christ, our Lord.
And, it is with joy that we share these comments from our CTW family:
‘Just thought that I’d let you know that I recently passed out a half-dozen crosses (which I received while visiting Kansas this summer) when visiting Christians in Kyrgyzstan. A little Kyrgyz boy, the son of a pastor in Bishkek, said that he would be happy to keep one for himself and give others to his friends.’ – Bradn
‘We sent off 22 Operation Christmas Boxes last week. Each box received a Cross the World necklace. I am a Parish Nurse here at Faith Lutheran. I am in the group of Centracare Nurses at St. Cloud hospital. I was privileged to help give away 400 crosses at the Health Fair in St. Cloud. Thank you for your faithful ministry in crossing the world with the cross of Christ.’ – Kay, MN
A little humor probably only us Norwegians will relate to!
We are so blessed to have you all in the CTW family … and, each month, our family continues to grow. Here’s where our crosses walked in November:
Lutheran Heritage Foundation – Macomb, MI
Nordland Lutheran Church – Paynesville, MN
Susan – MN
Joplin Family Worship Center – Joplin, MO
Mary Jo – MN
Pastor Pete – AZ
Mona – KS
Aliquippa Christian Assembly – Aliquippa, PA
Open Door Community Church – Breezy Point, MN
Stella – OR
Crossing Home – Minneapolis, MN
Carla – MN
Karl – MN
United Church of Christ – Hackensack, MN
Christian House Baptist Chapel – Aliquippa, PA
Joan – MN
For somehow, not only at Christmas, but all the long year through,
the joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you.
John Greenleaf Whittier