Occasion to Love
By Maria Fontaine
For many of us, since we were young children, Christmas has been a special time of celebrating Jesus’ birth, giving and receiving gifts, and spending time with family and friends. But Christmas is not only a time to enjoy these blessings ourselves; it is also the greatest opportunity of the year to tell the world about our precious Savior. Perhaps more than any other day of the year, it’s a time when people think about the miracle that is at the heart of Christmas—God sending His own dear Son into our world to lead us back to Him. Even in non-Christian cultures, people are interested in learning the true meaning of Christmas.
We who have experienced God’s love in Jesus have a chance to give the very best gift this Christmas, not only to those we know best and hold dear, but also to neighbors and strangers who share our world. There are those around us whose hearts are sad and weary, who cry out for a comforter, who yearn for a Savior. Some are overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty. Others are filled with despair and hopelessness because they have no goals and find no meaning in life. Others are laden with burdens of bitterness and guilt, or are imprisoned in emptiness, or are plagued by pain, or are otherwise beset by problems too big for them to solve on their own.
Jesus loves them and wants to take them in His arms. But He who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving must have our help! We are His eyes that can search them out, His ears that can hear their cry, His voice that can respond and comfort them, His arms that can embrace them.
Will you do your best to help them? Will you give of yourself? Jesus did. He stepped outside the most wonderful place that has ever been created to come here to earth and endure discomfort, humiliation, mocking, and pain—all in order to save us.
You can make a difference this Christmas. Even the humblest attempt to share the little you may have can shine as a very bright light in others’ lives, a ray of hope to penetrate the darkness that shrouds them. (Matthew 5:14–16)
Reach out to others. Tell them how Jesus came to earth to love them, how He died to save them, and how He rose again to deliver them into a wonderful new world that they can experience right now on earth and also enjoy forever in heaven. Proclaim that we celebrate the birthday of a living Savior who alone is the answer to their deepest needs.
As His Father sent Him, so He sends us. (John 20:21) Be Jesus’ hands. Be His feet. Be His eyes. Be His lips. Heal the brokenhearted; free the captives; raise those who are dead in trespasses and sins; welcome the rejected, the alienated, the ostracized. (Isaiah 61:1,3) Preach the Gospel to the poor; loose the bands of wickedness, undo the heavy burdens, let the oppressed go free. (Matthew 11:5; Isaiah 58:6) Give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Freely ye have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:8)
And let’s not stop with Christmas! Let’s keep sharing and giving and loving just as much throughout the year to come. Let’s make each day a celebration of Jesus’ birth, which brought the promise of new life for all.
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