Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

The Best Gift

My friends George, Sally and I had jumped into George’s truck to drive over to the next town to look at the Christmas lights.  Anticipating the holiday, we were in a jovial mood.  When we pulled up to an intersection beside another car, I noticed that the other driver was eating a frozen ice cream treat, so I caught her attention and mouthed the words, “That looks good!”

At that point, the light changed, and we all proceeded to the next intersection, where we found ourselves beside each other again.  This time, she reached out her window, offering me a wrapped frozen treat.

“Sorry, I only have one.” she explained, smiling.  “You’ll have to share.”

As the light changed and she made her turn, we laughed in amazement.  “Only at Christmas!” George commented.

Indeed, Christmas is the time of year when people seem to be more willing to perform acts of kindness and generosity with no thought of reward.  Compassionate ministry organizations all testify that donations and volunteers increase during the Christmas season.  Churches conduct distributions of food and gifts to families that need extra assistance. Many families include in their Christmas traditions an anonymous gift to a specific individual or family in financial need.

The older I get, the more I appreciate the sheer joy of giving my time and resources to someone who has no possible way of returning the favor.  After all, isn’t that what God gave the world through the gift of His Son?  In Jesus, He poured out His Gift to the hopeless and lost — those who have no possible way to return the favor — just because of His great love for us!  The only thing we can give Him in return is ourselves.

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.  He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David…because of the tender mercy of our God”  (Luke 1:68-69, 78)

Copyright 2010 — Mary E. Egidio   Permission is granted to share this post, but with attribution, and not for commercial purposes.

Love’s Pure Light

In order to save my ceramic nativity set when my daughter was small, I crafted a play nativity set out of plastic canvas and yarn.  Elizabeth would spend hours rearranging the pieces and acting out the Christmas story.  I would laugh to myself when I would inevitably hear her say, “Hey Mary, can I hold your baby?”

I just couldn’t picture the work-roughened hands of a shepherd cuddling an infant, or a royal king stooping down to embrace a poor child in a manger.  It made perfect sense to her, however, that if these people were going to make a trip to see a baby, they wouldn’t want to leave without holding it.

She wasn’t really so far off.  When you see a young baby, it’s only natural to admire them and comment about how cute he or she is.  But if you actually pick up that baby, a whole other phenomenon takes place.  Somehow, holding that child, gazing into his or her eyes, connecting with that uniquely God-given personality — that baby just gets into your heart!  Perhaps the shepherds and wise men were drawn in the same way to embrace the infant of Bethlehem and experience the miracle of His love in their hearts that first Christmas.

As we make the journey to the stable in Bethlehem again this year, let’s not just gaze on the Child in the manger and turn away unchanged.  Let’s embrace the Child of Bethlehem — the pure light of God’s love — and let Him shine into our hearts and make us new.

Don’t leave without holding the baby.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)

Copyright 1999 – Mary E. Egidio — (Originally published in “A Christmas to Remember — Advent Devotionals“) Permission is granted to share this post, but with attribution, and not for commercial purposes.