The weeks leading up to Christmas are very busy. There are cards to write and send and presents to find and buy. It is an exciting time, especially for children. This year the difficult economic situation means that many people have less money to spend and there are already many special offers in the shops. Many families are apprehensive about how they will afford the cost of Christmas, but are still looking forward to precious time together.
Christmas is a time for giving and receiving. At Christmas we want to give special gifts to those we love. This need not involve great expense. We want to express our love in a gift which has been carefully planned and which we know they will really like. Christmas morning is eagerly awaited, and not only by the children!
At the first Christmas God gave a very special gift to the people of his world. It is the greatest gift ever given. Then, as now, the world was a sad place with many troubles. The Roman Empire dominated many nations, including Israel, and most people were poor. Jesus came, not to solve the problems of the day, but to solve the biggest problem we all face – our sinful hearts and lives. The message of the angels to the shepherds was, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord!” Our sins spoil our relationship with God and separate us from him. Jesus came to bring reconciliation through his perfect life and death on the cross. The name Jesus means “Saviour!” God, against whom we have all rebelled, took the initiative by giving his only Son to be our Saviour.
Opening a present from someone we love brings great joy. Parents enjoy watching their children opening their present and seeing their delight when they see what it is. The child’s instinctive response is to give their parents a hug and tell them they love them. Have you ever responded to God’s gift of Jesus like that? Do you love him for giving you such an amazing present? It brings great joy to God when anyone receives Jesus as their Saviour. This Christmas, like the shepherds, why not take time to receive Jesus, God’s gift to you, and to thank him for his love to you.