The Real Gift of Christmas!

by Reverend Nancy Carmichael Stoner with Reverend Craig Carmichael Stoner

The Real Gift of Christmas! The floor had quickly become like a paper quilt made of different kinds and colors of wrapping paper sewn together with ribbons and bows! There were boxes near each person, either empty, unpacked or repacked.

The kids are over the top with excitement and the adults were watching all of the activity while memories of Christmas’s past danced in their heads. The older adults watched as young couples dreamed of Christmas’ to come.

I am 76 years young, and as I write this I wonder where the time has gone. I remember the annual ritual of sitting at the base of the Christmas tree counting the number of presents each of us had and looking at the bright big Christmas light bulbs reflected in the heavy lead tinsel.

There were many bright ornaments and with one sister and two brothers there were also many homemade ornaments too. I eagerly anticipated this morning every year.

Jesus became more important to me

However, when I reached about 12 years old, I recall that Christmas and Jesus became more important to me. My sister and I went to Christmas Eve service to hear the traditional Christmas story retold. Most teen years we either helped lead worship or had parts in the Christmas play.

Later, when we walked home 11:00 pm under star studded skies, we wondered out loud just how bright the Star of Wonder was.

Many years later, while on a trip to Bethlehem, I walked alone under those star-studded skies. I was near the same shepherd’s fields where the angels appeared, still wondering just how bright the Star of Wonder must have been. I have no accurate answer, but it had to be Glorious, breath-taking, awe inspiring … you get the idea.

The walk was short, but the Spirit of the Lord was so present it became Christmas in October!

Christmas is to celebrate the Saviors birth

You see, celebrating the Saviors birth is so much more than presents, family, football etc. Join me now in unwrapping the best gift ever in the entire universe.

This is the beginning of the “Great Exchange.” The present, who’s final unwrapping comes at Easter when we remember Jesus rising from the tomb victorious over sin and death.

This present makes you strong through the years, makes you wiser, humbler and forgives all your blunders, bad habits, outright disobedience and growing you up to the stature of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the smallest figure in the Nativity

Jesus is represented by the smallest figure in the Nativity set. If you can, pick up the baby Jesus, so small and helpless. What was God thinking? Perhaps God was laughing?

What better way to win hearts than to come as a newborn baby who is easy to love and adore. However, sooner or later we must let Jesus grow up, just as all babies do. How can we do that? The best answer is to read and study the Bible. Please note it is read and study.

We study the Bible to find God’s grace

The study of the Bible will uncover the depths of God’s grace, mercy and love and the richness of Faith! Open this gift the best gift ever this Christmas Day.

In Philippians 2:5-11 we read:

In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus.

Christ himself was like God in everything.
    He was equal with God.
    But he did not think that being equal with God was something to be held on to.
He gave up his place with God and made himself nothing.
    He was born as a man
    and became like a servant.
And when he was living as a man,
    he humbled himself and was fully obedient to God.
    He obeyed even when that caused his death—death on a cross.
So God raised Christ to the highest place.
    God made the name of Christ greater than every other name.
10 God wants every knee to bow to Jesus—
    everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.
11 Everyone will say, “Jesus Christ is Lord”
    and bring glory to God the Father.

Wishing you a thoughtful, Jesus filled Christmas and a Blessed New Year!