A Pastor's Blog

The True Christmas

“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads, And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.”

This is the first two verses of the famous poem: “Twas the night before Christmas,” written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1822. This poem has since  become a tradition to read in many homes on Christmas Eve but I ask you, does it truly apply to everyone?

I love the Christmas season and I try to enjoy as much of it as I possibly can but I can truthfully say that this poem was never read in my home on Christmas Eve and probably in a lot of other homes as well. 

My parents never had extra money to spend on their 6 children for Christmas so consequently I don’t have a memory of opening a lot of gifts on Christmas Day. The fondest memory I have as a young boy of Christmas  was of all my family, uncles, aunts and cousins as well, getting together to laugh, sing and enjoy whatever was prepared to eat.

The Christmas poem by Mr. Moore is a cute story but there are children in other parts of the world, and even in our own city, who can’t even begin to relate to ‘visions of sugar-plums dancing in their heads or stocking being hung by the chimney.’ For many of them, visions of  even having food to eat and socks to put on their feet is what they are thinking about.

Mr. Moore’s poem, which talks about Christmas, doesn’t really an accurate description of what the Christmas story is all about. The Christmas story is not about Santa Clause, sugar plums or getting a lot of gifts to open on Christmas Day.  The Christmas story is about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ and in contrast to Mr. Moore’s poem, it actually applies to the whole world. In Luke 2:10-11 the angel said to some shepherds out in a field, “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 Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.”

I am not saying that receiving gifts is a bad thing but I often wonder how much are we willing to give away. Francis Chan in his book Crazy Love writes: “We are loaded down with too many good things. more than we could ever need, while others are desperate for a small loaf. The good things we cling to are more than money; we hoard our resources, our gifts, our time, our families, our friends.” Is there something today that you are clinging to that the Lord has asked you to give away?

The Apostle Paul writes in Acts 20:35 that Jesus Himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Jesus says in Luke 6:38 Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measure to you.”

Giving is not about what you may get back in return but it’s all about being obedient to do what Jesus asked of us. Visions of sugar-plums dancing in their heads and stockings hung by the chimney is not something all children can wrap their heads around, but the truth that a Savior came into the world to die for the children’s sins; and aren’t we all children, so they may be in His presence forever is something they will understand.

I truly want everyone to enjoy Christmas and whatever you may have to open under your Christmas tree, but I would challenge us all to ask the Lord what He would want us to give to someone who is in real need this year. That person may be in your own church, a co-worker or to get real bold, it may even be a stranger. 

Look to give this Christmas and everyday of the year and receive the joy and peace that comes from being obedient to do so, for that is exactly what our Lord did for you and me. Merry Christmas everyone 🙂

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