Having endured a large dose of Thanksgiving family drama, a friend recently exclaimed, “I think this Christmas I just need to give everyone in my family Jesus! They need Him more than anything else.”
My friend immediately purchased two of my Satisfied…at Last! Bible studies and I assume she’s giving those to two of the women in her family. I’m in hearty approval of that gift, of course. Giving someone the opportunity to discover Truth is always an appropriate gift.
But my friend’s plan got me thinking about other ways we can give those on our gift list Jesus this year. Immediately I thought of things like Christ-focused Christmas cards, an invitation to the church Christmas musical, a spiritual Christmas CD or a beautiful mug with a scripture printed on it.
But something in my spirit wasn’t at rest. I felt the Lord telling me that there was a better way to give the true meaning of Christmas to those in my life. His way.
Why not give Jesus the same way He did? You see the Father sent the Son to earth in the flesh for some very specific purposes. The gift of Jesus Christ was not just some warm sentiment of light and joy; He came to do only the very things the Father told Him to do.
So, following that reasoning, this Christmas I’m going to try my best to “give Jesus” to others in four specific ways. Now be warned. These modes of “giving” aren’t nearly as easy or cheap or convenient as sending a spiritual sentiment on a Christmas card or wrapping a Christian CD in pretty paper. They will cost me more, but they will truly be in the spirit of Emmanuel, Christ with us.
If I really want to “give Jesus” to those on my list, I’ll:
- Love them. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…” Jesus was given to us out of love. When I love others (especially the unlovable) by putting them first, keeping no record of wrongs, thinking the best of them and hoping good things for them (1 Corinthians 13), I demonstrate the love of Christ.
- Forgive them. In Jesus, we have received “the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:14). I can’t forgive another person’s sins, but I can forgive the wrongs they have done to me. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean I discount the wrong they did; it was indeed wrong. But forgiveness means I let them off the hook; I choose not to punish them or hold the wrong against them.
- Serve them. Jesus clearly said He did not come to be served, but to serve. He also girded Himself with a servant’s towel and washed His disciples’ feet. Afterward He told them, “I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” We are never more like Jesus than when we serve.
- Pray for them. Before Jesus was crucified He worded a beautiful prayer for His disciples, including us. He also continues today to intercede before the Father on our behalf. But did you know that He is not obligated to speak to the Father on behalf of those who do not call Him Lord? And when a non-believer shouts up an SOS, the Father is under no obligation to listen to that cry for help, unless it’s a petition for salvation through faith. That means we, you and I, need to be praying for our lost friends and family members. And when we do, He hears and responds because we are His children.