Christmas: An Occasion to Love
By Maria Fontaine
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For many of us, since we were young children, Christmas has always been a special time for celebrating Jesus’ birth, giving and receiving gifts, and spending time with family and close friends. The beloved Christmas carols sung and played all around the world are beautiful and enduring, not only because of their appealing melodies, but most of all because their message tells of a Father of love who sent His Son into this world to share that love with each of us, so that we could receive Him into our hearts and have a wonderful life of love, not only now but forever!
But Christmas is not only a time to enjoy these blessings ourselves. It is also the greatest opportunity of the year to tell the world about our precious Savior. It is an occasion when people desire to hear more about the meaning of Christmas and the spiritual significance of this day that much of the world celebrates. Even in cultures that don’t celebrate Christmas, people are often eager to learn the true meaning of it.
We have a chance to give the very best gifts this Christmas, not only to the ones we know best and hold dear, but also to neighbors and strangers in our communities, workplace, and ministries. There are those around us whose hearts are weary, who cry out for a comforter; those whose lives are sin-sick and sorrowful, who yearn for a Savior. They seek a rescuer; they weep inside for a deliverer. They are overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty, filled with despair and hopelessness, laden with burdens of bitterness and guilt, imprisoned in emptiness, plagued by pain and discouragement, and beset by problems too big for them to solve. Many have no goals, no meaning in their lives.
Jesus loves each of them and wants to take them in His arms. But He who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving must have your help! You are His eyes that can see their need and love them, His ears that can hear and respond to their cry, His voice that can comfort them, His tears that can move them, His arms that can embrace them.
Will you do your best to help them? Will you give even when it hurts? Jesus did. He stepped outside the most wonderful place that has ever been created to come here to earth to endure discomfort and humiliation and mocking and pain, so that He could save us. Will you, too, step outside the walls of your home and your personal comfort zone to endure the discomfort, the humbling, the weariness, sometimes even skepticism and scoffing, to try to share Jesus’ love with the hungry?
You can make a difference this Christmas. Even the humblest attempt to share the little you may have will shine as a very bright light in someone’s life. Your love will shine even brighter this year because the world grows darker, and your little “candle” will be seen and reflected in the lives of many as a ray of hope and faith to penetrate despair and fear.
Take the opportunity to reach out to others. Share with them the good news of how Jesus came to earth to love them, how He died to save them, and how He rose again to deliver them into a wonderful new world that they can experience right now on earth, and also enjoy forever in heaven. Proclaim that we celebrate the birthday of a living Savior, not a dead hero—a living Savior, who was born on earth that He might die in order to rise again to rescue us from the evil kingdom of sin and death and fear and loneliness.
As His Father sent Him, so He sends us. Be Jesus’ hands. Be His feet. Be His eyes. Be His lips. Bind up the brokenhearted; comfort those that mourn; free the captives; feed the hungry with food that will last them forever; raise those who are dead in trespasses and sins; heal the sick in body and spirit; welcome the rejected, the alienated, the ostracized; give new sight to the blind by giving them Jesus, the light of the world. Preach the gospel to the poor; loose the bands of wickedness, undo the heavy burdens, let the oppressed go free. Give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Freely ye have received, freely give.1
As you give, you will also receive from God’s hand what you need in whatever way the Lord knows is best for you. Look what it says in God’s Word! “Then will your light break forth as the morning, and your healing will spring forth speedily: and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ ... And if you pour yourself out for the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul, then will your light shine out from the darkness, and your night will be as the full light of the sun. And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in dry places, and make your bones strong: you will be like a well-watered garden, and like a spring that never runs dry.”2
Let’s not stop with Christmas! Let’s keep sharing and giving and loving just as much throughout the year to come. Let’s make each day a celebration of Jesus’ birth, His death, and His resurrection that promises new life for all!
Originally published November 1994. Adapted and republished December 2018.
Read by Debra Lee.