Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Greatest Gift

I will be upfront and state that this article is directly tied into our current worship series at Fork Christian Church. We are doing a study called the Advent Conspiracy. In a nutshell we are trying to go against the tide of our culture and to make a difference this season. Rather than just buying to buy and giving to give we want to get back to basics and make it about relationships. It is about making a difference both locally and globally. Think back on that first Christmas. A simple birth changed history and lives. What if this season we tried to make Christmas another life changing event??

It has been said many times that the greatest gift ever given was the gift of Jesus Christ. God freely gave of himself, through his Son, to save us. God wanted a relationship that was free from sin with us. God wanted to love us fully and for us to love him back fully. God gave us his Son in order to accomplish this. Simply put Christmas is about love and relationships. That is the meaning of the first Christmas.

For so many (even us Christians) the season has lost much of its meaning. We get too stressed out, we spend way too much and often are left feeling empty. This is not supposed to be what Christmas is about. We end up tired and in debt and wonder what happened? I know Christmas Eve is a special night with worship. Leaving a candlelight service we often feel close to God and in awe of his love. However twenty-four hours later we sit among wrapping paper and feel exhausted. This is not how He wanted it? Do you realize that this year alone we will spend 450-475 billion on gifts? Say what??? Does that make any sense to you? We are still in a recession and people are still out of work and yet we will still spend. We feel so pressurized by our culture that we are in a trap.

So what can we do? We still want to have the Christmas that is expected but we can put the Christ back into Christmas this year. This is my encouragement to you. This is what we are being challenged to do at Fork this year. Think about giving just a little less. I am not talking about not giving but what if we cut back. How much do you spend on an average gift? Let’s say $25-$50. Not a large amount by any means. What if we took that and put it toward something that made a difference. At Fork we are partnering with Blood:Water Mission to provide fresh water wells in Zambia. If every member gives $25 we can easily raise $10,000 and make an impact across the world through our gift. You all know that I am an Area Coordinator for Compassion. You can also purchase special gifts through Compassion that will make a difference and have an impact as an alternative to just buying something meaningless.I encourage you to visit: and click on the gift link. It is a perfect alternative for that special person. I am sure that if you search locally in your area that there is something that you can do as alternative that would make an impact.

In closing I want to re-state that Christmas is about relationships and not gifts. God gave his Son as a present that first Christmas but it started with God loving us. We can bless others in such simple ways as just listening or spending time with them. Write that letter that you have been putting off. Maybe take some home baked cookies to a neighbor or shut-in. Somewhere I saw it written that it is about presence not presents. This Christmas I encourage you to join with me and make a difference. Spend a little less and engage a little more. Instead of that extra gift take that money and use it to make an impact. I pray that each of you will be blessed this Christmas and will find more of the meaning in Christmas than perhaps you did in the past.