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An unexpected Christmas gift

December 24, 2009 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)

It was one of those unexpectedly precious, heartwarming moments that melt a father’s heart. My family and I went this past Saturday to an event a local church was doing that included a nativity scene and a “re-creation” of a 1st century village where the kids could do a number of Christmas crafts and have their picture taken. My boys are 4, 3, and 1, and the older two, Ryan and Will, had a great time going from table to table making cookies, ornaments, and other Christmas decorations, while we tried to keep Nate (our one year-old) from destroying the village and eating the glue. After the boys had made their crafts, we entered the sanctuary and headed up to the front, where a teenage boy and girl welcomed us and recited their lines about their wonder at God having chosen them to be the parents of the Messiah, Jesus. Meanwhile, baby doll Jesus laid quietly in the straw between them. After the teens were done saying their lines, we thanked them and exited the sanctuary to gather our crafts and head for home.

Then, all of a sudden, Will stopped and whispered up to me, “We didn’t give baby Jesus his birthday present.” Now Will, our middle son, is aptly named, for he has always been a very strong-willed boy. While Ryan, our oldest, is generally happy and sociable, Will is tough, enjoys being by himself, and is quick to give a withering glare to anyone who crosses him or to throw something across the room if told “no”. But here was this sweet little boy, stopping us in our tracks and turning us around to go back into the sanctuary. Will proceeded to walk back up to the manger and lay a Christmas tree ornament that he had just created in the straw next to baby Jesus. And Ryan, in turn, laid the picture that had been taken of our three boys on the other side of Jesus.

Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35), and this Christmas, be reminded that with every sacrifice you make, the blessing you will receive in return will far outweigh the price you have paid. Sometimes you experience it right away, but often it may take years to experience the blessing that comes from giving of yourself sacrificially. And sometimes, of course, the reward will not come until you hear Jesus say those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” One little Christmas tree ornament may not be much to us, but our little Will had just put his time into every decoration on that tree, only to give it as a gift to Jesus. In the same way, find a way to give of yourself – your gifts, your time, your money – to God by blessing someone in need this Christmas season, trusting that it is the best investment you could ever make.

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