Joy is found in giving from the heart
Published 4:18 pm Friday, December 9, 2016
As hard as it is to believe, we are down to just days before Christmas, which means that many are in that mad rush that will only get more chaotic as shoppers hurry to attend to their gift lists. Like always, all the busyness can rob the joy of the season away from us before we know it. It is refreshing when we experience opportunities to exercise the joy of doing good. Gale and I had one of those refreshing moments just a few days ago.
A tradition that we started several years ago continues to be a rich part of our Christmas observance. To help teach our girls the joy of giving and the importance of reaching out to those in need, we take them shopping. We set a budget and give them other guidelines to follow, then the items that they select are donated to an organization that provides for children in need during the Christmas season. One of our objectives is to teach the girls the importance of giving to others rather than keeping everything for themselves. This has worked quite well and I am happy to be able to say that I have never sensed any reluctance from them about passing their newly purchased gifts on to someone who needs them more than they do. The truth is, instead of reluctance I have observed a lot of enthusiasm from them about having a part in helping others. (Papa does sweeten the deal a bit by taking them out to supper when the shopping trip is done!)
In a world filled with selfishness it is encouraging to see young people getting excited about doing good for others.
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Matthew’s account of the birth of Christ provides us a beautiful picture of giving—giving worship and giving the very best tangibly to the newborn King, Jesus Christ. Even though that was a unique event from centuries past, there is much that we can learn from it and put into practice in our personal lives.
The magi, or wise men, embarked upon the important mission of finding the newborn Christ and offering Him worship, then blessing Him with valuable gifts. While there is uncertainty about who they were, where they were from, and when they arrived to where Christ was, we can be certain that they experienced great joy as they gave to Him.
Most of us have heard the words of Matthew 2:10-11 multiple times, yet they are worth listening to again: “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him; and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”
Some suggest that the gifts presented to Christ stood for His royalty, His deity, and His burial after dying on the cross.
Among the things that we might glean from this account is a reminder of Christ’s worthiness to be worshipped. Upon finding the young Christ-child, the wise men “fell down, and worshipped Him” (verse 11). In our Christmas celebration, let us all be sure to include time to worship the One Who was born in Bethlehem. With Christmas being on Sunday this year, it gives us great opportunity to do so.
We can also allow the gifts that were given to Christ by the wise men to motivate us to give our best to Him. Those gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh were of great value. He still deserves to receive the very best of our time, energy, talents, and resources.
The wise men of old experienced great joy as they gave to Christ. Our girls experienced joy as they gave to others in need. We can all experience the joy of this Christmas season as we give our very best to our Lord through the opportunities that He provides us.