Have You Got Your Christmas Shopping Finished?

What Was The Best Christmas Gift Ever?

Description: As we all reminisce of all the Christmas past, I am certain we can recall the best gift we ever received and ever gave to a friend or loved one.

Verse: They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. Matthew 2:11

I am certain that in the short days that are left before the holiday Christmas, we have all been looking for the best Christmas gift we could give to our loved ones and friends. Many have been on this journey months ago to make certain that they would not be left stranded without finding the special gift. And unfortunately there are those who will wait till the eve before to look frantically in the scraps left by all those who had shopped days before and all that remains is empty shelves that on the day after Christmas will be reduced to price and new inventory will be placed on the shelf for the next holiday.

However when we do the research, the true meaning of Christmas is a festival commemorating the birth of Jesus, traditionally celebrated on December 25 by most Western Christian churches. One of the main reasons we have the custom of giving and receiving presents at Christmas, is to remind us of the presents given to Jesus by the Wise Men: Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh. Frankincense was a perfume used in Jewish worship and, as a gift, it showed that people would worship Jesus. You might ask why were these gifts so important?

The theories generally break down into two groups:

• All three gifts are ordinary offerings and gifts given to a king. …

• The three gifts had a spiritual meaning: gold as a symbol of kingship on earth, frankincense (an incense) as a symbol of deity, and myrrh (an embalming oil) as a symbol of death.

It’s that time of year again…time for gift-buying, gift-wrapping, and gift-exchanging. What are the gifts we could bring Jesus this Christmas? One way we can discover that is to look at Matthew 2:1-12, which tells of the gifts the wise men brought Him on the night when God became flesh and dwelt among us.

I don’t know whether the wise men understood all of this, but the wise men saw a star and this star represented that a special child – – a King had been born to save Israel. And this is not by accident. Of everything that could be listed as gifts to the King, we read they brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to recognize His sovereign dominion, sacred deity, and sacrificial death.

To often we forget the true meaning of this holiday that birthed a Savior to the entire world. This King did not make a grand entrance as many of His followers had thought, He came to us as a child born in a manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes. His earthly parents received the news by angelic visits as well as the first visitors, shepherds and wisemen who visited the new born King.

The best way to think about this birthdate is no different than how all of us were born. There was excitement, joy, and tears of words that could not be said, priceless. Parents never forget this special day and will remember every special moment and thank God they were given this special gift from Him. You see many of us remember also singing Happy Birthday Jesus on Christmas as well and I can remember as well Birthday cakes being made to celebrate His birth. But sometimes the true meaning of Christmas is hid with presents and parties that never mention His name, or thank Him for what He had done for them that year.

I think the wisemen were the only true men that understood the prophecy of a King being born as a child and placed in a manger. He didn’t make the grand appearance as we would have expected for a King to make. And He didn’t get first class treatment as He deserved. True followers and believers in the story however remain to remember the special night that a child who was born grew up to be a special person for all the world to hear about still today. The question for you today – – What would you bring or give to the King who came to save a lost world, and to ensure a relationship with His Father forever?

What will you give Jesus this Christmas? Your wealth? All that we have belongs to Him. Your worship? Fall on your face before Him. Your witness? I want the world to know that He died for me. Do you? My wealth, my worship, and my witness belongs to my Lord. And so does yours. It is all our choices to remember that this special day was about a gift of love from a Father (God) who loved His creation and wanted a relationship with Him. Sin separated all of us from that relationship and allowing His Son (Jesus) to leave Heaven to come to Earth and sacrifice Jesus’s life was the greatest gift to all humanity.

You see, the best Christmas gift is love! And we all have the ability to return that gift to anyone and everyone. Merry Christmas!

Question, “How is Your Relationship?”

Description: Relationship can be defined in the way in which two or more people regard and behave toward each other.

Scripture:Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. 1 Corinthians 13:7 (MSG)

Our scripture text comes to us today from the love chapter in the New Testament. I love the message version of this easy to understanding of what love is and what love isn’t. I would also add it is a great definition of how we should love our spouses and our rule to love one another’s as Jesus told us.

Every year I evaluate the divorce rate in the United States and it always implies that over 50% of relations end, and this is not what has happened recently but in the last 20 years we cannot determine what will keep a relationship and what will destroy one.

I am certain that unfaithfulness would be the top reason that many would say that would alter any type of relationship, but I believe there has to be a REAL intent to have a relationship with two parties and the most important goal to look what SHIP we are on, to be certain that it is a long journey .

The old saying, “no one promised you a rose garden,” is true only if we communicate with one another during the relationship will determine the possibilities there is something REAL between us and if both parties are still on the SHIP together.

This is a debatable topic I am certain with anyone. But today during a break asks a few questions at the table with your coworkers:

1. What keeps your relationship going?

2. What would end your relationship today?

3. Do you and your spouse or significant other talk about everything?

4. What do you not talk about? Why?

I am certain there will not be enough time to get all of these questions answered by all, and possibly a debate will occur at your table. But if you reevaluated every response at the end of the day, what would you tell your friend that they could do to have better results? And the bigger question, ask your partner their thoughts on these topics and see if they match yours. If you have been in the relationship for a long period of time, you should be able to answer these questions about one another.

During the holiday seasons, relationship issues are the most difficult perhaps because we don’t have someone in our life currently – – and its because something didn’t work out and the decision was to end the relationship. What many of us learn is that we didn’t know all the information, before we started down the journey with one another.

RELATIONSHIPS are real and work better if we are not dreaming about what we want without talking about it with the other person. I used the “ship” in the equation as well, because possibly the other party gets off the boat, or changes the destination, without letting anyone else know that the plans were altered.

Perhaps we have been watching to much television and reading romance novels, that we forget what reason brought everyone together and that we could not live with this person – – EVER. And then we get to the bad question, “why did I get involved with person in the first place?” This proves that the process does require some better study and investigation before signing or agreeing to the relationship. To many times we have the position if it doesn’t work to say “‘O well easy come easy go!”

What does matter more are you on the 50% that is making it today, and you are working on a real relationship that will stay on the ship together no matter what. If so, then you are using the love chapter to get your relationship through any storm or problem.

Bottom line, no one wants to really be lonely, but it takes two people to see the importance of what they have and be willing to control their decisions so that no alterations will be in their journey of life together. As I mentioned before, “I never promised you a rose garden, but I did promise to never leave you.” Life is tough and when we truly want a relationship we are willing to put more in it to be certain that we never take anything totally for granted.

I am certain that we all wish we would have done things differently and possibly there is time in your situation to bring the right actions that will alter your relationship. Be encouraged, because none of us are perfect, and if we are following the example of Jesus with loving one another using our verse today, we perhaps will be in a relationship that will last forever.

Look for someone who is suffering from a relationship today, and help them to get into possible steps of reconciliation. Sometimes we look at more of the bad choices in our life, than the good ones. With Gods help we can get through any tough situation. Merry Christmas!

Forgiveness

Forgiven

Description: My father said you have been forgiven.

Scripture: “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. Matthew 6:14-15

As a child, I was always happy to hear my parents tell me, “You are forgiven , you can go out and play.” Now years older, I have seen me wanting to be forgiven, but in some times not willing to offer the same hand of grace given to me to others. Although our wrong is not really any different, but perhaps we realize that the power for us to forgive others is the same power for others to forgive our wrongful deeds.

This is the toughest season for many of us to go through, because someone has not forgiven us for what we done to them, or perhaps you are shielding a relationship because of what someone did to you. Let no words misguide the idea that if someone has wronged you, it was probably wrong – – but is it worth keeping your own forgiveness from you? We must be willing in a season of adjusting to the wrong to forgive those who have hurt us, but also protecting ourselves from being hurt again.

When looking through the eyes of the parent, who has been wronged, and you have offered your forgiveness to your friends and loved ones many times, because all of us could fall the next moment, and need the same element of grace. Bitterness and anger only keeps the gate to our heart closed, but possibly not the ability to show acts of kindness to others who have not done anything, but just standing near to seeing the kind hearted person approachable and willing to accept an opportunity to make mends.

Life is precious – – but short for all of us. None of us are perfect, and when we have done wrong we should run to one another and make things right. Time only makes the hurt more painful. This Christmas don’t run from a hurtful situation, ask someone you can trust to get these weeds pulled from your heart. I am certain that whomever it is they feel equally worse, and wish they could turn back the wheels of time, to make this issue not what it became.

Our Father God, forgives each one of us no matter what the situation was, because there is no condition for his love. He loves us, even when He knows that we have done wrong. God wants us to forgive those who have hurt us and if it has been a deep hurt, He can help us even with the words to say, when we cannot say them. It was so important to Him, that He said the greatest any of us could do is love.

Love causes all of us to forgive, because we remember what it felt like when we were forgiven. It doesn’t give anyone the right or permission to hurt continually, because we all know that is not love. Christmas is not just the season of gifts, it is the season to remember that God saw all the wrong in the world, and had to send His son to pay for all the wrong that has occurred and will occur for all eternity. God done His part, we must do ours as well by forgiving one another, as God forgave us and will forgive us when we make a mistake again.

The Christmas star brings hope still for a darkened world, but we all have our little bit to make the world a better place to live in – – share your heart and help others see that the little baby born on Christmas Day was a sign of Gods promise to help us all. We know that ultimately this little boy grew up to be a man and shared the love of His father to everyone, and then gave the ultimate gift to all of us – – Jesus died that all our sins would be forgiven.

Prayer: Lord we all have been wronged and we have to admit we have also done wrong to others. Thank you for the promise of Your forgiveness and help us this Christmas share forgiveness with our friends and loved ones to remind us of the best gift given to all humanity – – You. Amen

The Perfect Gift

The Perfect Gift

Description: If I could have everything in the world and it didn’t include you God.

Scripture: She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel. Luke 6:7

This is the busiest season for the average person, Christmas. The last month of the year but for many the busiest and as well the month we spend more money than we earn. Everyone looks for the best deal and with hope to have the best gift ever. I will have bragging rights this year, everyone will be amazed and in awe of my gift.

For years I was not that person who looked everywhere for the gift that would be the talk of the family. No, I was the procrastinator that waited till the eve before Christmas. Even though it was very disappointing every year, to find that the choices left was not what I wanted to purchase – – but it was better than not having anything at all. I am certain I am not alone.

All of us shoppers have the same opportunity to save for the biggest shopping season and have ideas in our head before we grab the cart and start the adventure that will bring delight to not only the buyer, but as well the lucky person who will receive the special gift.

How we even select the perfect bow, the wrapping and the card which will bear the name of the lucky individual. It must look and glimmer that everyone who goes by it under our tree, wonders what did this beautiful gift have for them. I can hardly wait to see the surprise. And because of the anticipation, everyone in the family is willing to go last to see what is held within this beautiful package. Oh, how I wish my name was on the tag was thought by everyone that saw the package.

What if you were the lucky individual that on the Christmas morning, will be the special person who will get to see the gift that obviously was scrutinized for a long time, and not only that, someone spent more money than I deserved – – but who cares – -it will be mine soon.

The morning finally comes and we will get to see the gift that we will talk about for a long time. But before we can open gifts my dad must have us go through the routine of saying what we are especially thankful for this Christmas Day. We all stammer to come up with the normal appreciation

“I am thankful for wonderful parents who love me so much.”

“I am thankful for family who puts up with me – – really!”

“I am thankful for baby Jesus, Happy Birthday Jesus, “ the small child’s as she looks at the manger scene.

Everyone gets real quiet and immediately we are captivated as we all look at the small nativity characters mom laid on the blanket of cotton. Every year she placed this item in the same place that obviously as many of us grew up forgot the reason for the season.

Mary who was pregnant with a child have been traveling on a donkey for many miles, and I am certain that mothers have a bit more empathy for this young mother when she was tired, irritable and only wanted to get some place quiet and comfortable to have the promised child that the angel Gabriel promised her nine months ago.

I forgot to tell you she did not have the time or possibly the funds to get that special outfit for her firstborn. Her husband Jospeh, was not able to find any nice clean room for his wife and child to be born real soon. After hearing no so many times, the young father was able to find a stable with animals to share this special event. The young mother didn’t mind, and was given the best comfort from her husband for this special night. All the barn animals came in real close to see the excitement.

The father found some wood where he took some hay and made a small bed for the child. And then it all happened, the child was born wrapped with some fabric. Just like all new parents Joseph and Mary was blessed with best GIFT in the entire world. The story also states that some shepherds and their flocks traveled to see this special child who was the gift from a loving father to all of us here on earth.

This gift was for our lives of sin and prophesied in the Old Testament as the gift of eternal life for all who choose to accept this gift from God. It sure is nice to get gifts from our families and special friends, but the best gift to consider this Christmas season is a gift that was wrapped especially for each one of us. And the gift tag reads every year, TO: YOU. FROM: God.Especially considered a long time ago just for each one of us.

This gift does shine with the brightest light when we determine to accept it for our very own. This gift will not want to be returned by any recipient, but I am certain from my own experience, the giver will not be unhappy when you want to share this gift with others. Many of us wait a long time before we look for the gift under the tree that is still available to be opened by anyone.

This year consider wrapping a gift that has a picture of Jesus and giving everyone including your enemy or the neighbor you don’t talk to – – the best gift that anyone could receive this year – – the gift that will keep on giving forever, JESUS.