By Debra Whittington
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. Luke 2: 9-11, 17-18
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15
As I sit down to write this column the Christmas rush is winding down. Last minute gifts are purchased or need to be purchased by now as stores are closing for Christmas. Young children are excitedly waiting Christmas morning so they can open their Christmas presents that they spent the last few days shaking and trying to guess the contents.
Families are together or soon will be as some are waiting to travel to Grandma’s house or some other destination. However for some it will be another Christmas Eve spent all alone or in despair after the loss of a loved one. (My heart goes out to these people.)
It won’t be long before all of the Christmas decorations will be packed away for another year. Somehow, there just isn’t the same excitement packing them away as it was to get them out about a month ago. So with all of this said, by the time this column goes to print Christmas will be over, but is Christmas really ever over?
As the passage of Scripture tells at the beginning of this column the angel of the Lord told of a gift for all people, the gift of a Savior. The angel announced the gift that keeps on giving. It is unlike many of the presents received that are cast aside or even regifted.
We look ahead now to a new year and a whole list of resolutions. Many of the resolutions are the same ones we promise to keep year after year. New calendars will replace old ones many of which are thrown away as the old year is cast aside.
Wait a minute! Christmas doesn’t need to be abandoned for an entire year. The spirit of Christmas is something we need to keep with us all year long. It is amazing how many people are benevolent and kind to others during the Christmas season only to toss it aside and return to old habits once Dec. 25 has passed.
In many cultures Christmas begins on Dec. 25 and continues for 12 days ending on Jan. 6 celebrating the arrival of the three wise men that came with gifts for the Christ Child. Although the legendary song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is rather extravagant and outrageous, it encourages an extended gift-giving season. What about giving gifts that don’t cost a cent?
Here is a suggestion of 12 gifts you can give based on the writings of the Apostle Paul: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Galatians 5:22-23). Added to those nine we could add mercy, forgiveness, and service to others.
Instead of 12 days of Christmas we could incorporate these gifts into one a month. I wonder what would happen if we worked on being more loving, having more joy, etc. in our lives? It could change not only our outlook on life, but also the way we live our lives.
Christians are thankful to God for His “unspeakable gift” but also need to put into practice what they learned from Jesus. I resolve in the New Year to work on passing on the gifts of the spirit found in the book of Galatians to those I come in contact with as I share the Good News of Jesus with them. In this way I hope to turn the 12 days of Christmas into a year round observance.