Looking out my window today I’m pondering Christmas once again. After all, we are much closer to the special day now. Soon December 25th will arrive, the stockings that were hung by the chimney with care will be pulled down and emptied. The presents so carefully wrapped and positioned underneath the tree, will be scattered around the room unwrapped and in some cases played with and tried on. Depending on what your day holds for mealtime, the smell of turkey could be filling the house, or you’re pondering the drive time as you possibly head to family and friends homes. Whatever the case may be, it is indeed Christmastime!
Once again this year we handed out Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes on behalf of Samaritan’s Purse during the Santa Claus Parade. What a joy it was to hand shoeboxes to people along the parade route. But I have to admit, it’s even more of a joy to chat with people as they brought the filled shoeboxes into the radio station or to Cobourg Fellowship Baptist Church. Time and time again we were greeted by smiling kids telling us how they went to the store and were so happy to pick out presents to fill their box with to send overseas to a child for Christmas. Of course the Mom’s and Dad’s accompanying the kids were full of stories of how much joy they experienced watching their kids go through the Dollar Store carefully picking out items for their box. It might seem quite simple, but time and time again parents told us of how proud they are of their kids as they see them thinking of others at Christmas, instead of just thinking of themselves.
Christmas is a time of gift giving. As a kid I remember taking part in White Gift Sunday, held on the Third Sunday of Advent every year. Still celebrated today in many churches, White Gift Sunday, actually has its roots back to the early 1900’s. White Gift Sunday is a time when everyone in the congregation is encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item wrapped in white, which is then given to a family in need of food to help them celebrate Christmas with a wonderful meal.
The original meaning of White Gift Sunday was also the celebration of bringing gifts to a king. When Jesus was born the Magi – or Wise Men – traveled to Jerusalem to see Him bearing gifts. In Matthew 2 we discover they came with three specific gifts. Each gift carried with it a significant symbolism as well. Gold represents the Kingship of Jesus while Frankincense represents His Priestly role on the earth. The gift of Myrrh – a traditional incense used at funerals during Biblical times – represented His eventual death and resurrection.
This now all brings us to the main gift given which we celebrate during the Christmas season. While it’s an old and sometimes considered worn statement – the saying “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” – really is true. In John’s Gospel we read “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, and whosever shall believe in Him, will have everlasting life”. A wonderful promise indeed, but there’s another wonderful promise worth remembering at this time of year as well. Matthew tells us “She will give birth to a son and they will call Him Immanuel, meaning ‘God is with us’” (Matthew 1:23).
As you celebrate Christmas with family and friends this year, my prayer for you is that you will discover anew – or even possibly for the first time – that Jesus is the Reason for the Season. This is the time of year we remember that “God is with us” through His Son Jesus.
Merry Christmas from my family to your family.
Looking Out My Window is a regular column in the Northumberland Today newspaper located in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.