When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:10-11 NRSV)
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. The suspense of waiting to open presents with family and friends still excites. There's nothing quite like ripping into a package to reveal its contents and to shout with joy, "That's what I've always wanted." As I have grown older I have found even greater joy in giving gifts to family and friends. It is quite true that I sometimes go overboard in buying fits for my family this time of the year.
I remember a year not long ago in which I was shopping for my wife. I went into the store at the mall where a nice salesperson assisted me in finding the right gift. Fortunately, my wife had made a list of a few things she would like to have. But salesperson pointed out some other ideas and before I knew it I had selected not only what as on my wife's list but some other very nice gifts as well. I was lucky to get out of their without applying for one of their store credit cards!!
Matthew's gospel tells the story of the wise men bringing their gifts to Jesus. And in giving they found great joy.
We don't always have to give gifts to find the joy of giving. We can give our time, our talents and our service. This year our family will spend an hour ringing the bells for Salvation Army. It's only 60 minutes yet it is a time of service I value and hope our children will value as well.
So this Christmas, enjoy the giving and receiving of gifts. And remember, throughout the year, there are opportunites for you to give that will make a difference in the life of someone you may or may not know.
Have a great Christmas!
December 13, 2007