Monday, December 23, 2013
Gift giving is a Christmas tradition ever since the Wise Men went bearing gifts to the baby Jesus. While we’ll all continue to give these earthly presents, there’s an even more important blessing to give those in our world.
We also need to make a Spiritual Christmas Gift List. Who are the people that you need to show the love of Jesus to during this season? To help us get an idea of the kinds of people to put on our list, let’s look at the biblical account of Jesus’ birth. The Bible records God’s Christmas list.
These accounts show the various people who witnessed Jesus’ birth. We’ll see how God used ordinary and extraordinary people to share in the good news.
Mary and Joseph
Joseph was a carpenter and an upright man. When he learned of Mary’s pregnancy, maybe he thought of putting her away instead of dealing with public humiliation, but he listened to the angel and took Mary as his wife. He was a devout Jew who showed integrity and obedience to God’s direction.
Mary was a young teenager, an ordinary Jewish girl probably looking forward to marriage, when the angel Gabriel came to her. Mary was fearful and troubled in the presence of the angel and could not imagine that she would have a child, the Messiah. However, she responded to God with belief and obedience and kept a humble and quiet spirit.
Joseph and Mary were obedient followers of God and provided Jesus an earthly home. They were his earthly family. Who are the family members on your Christmas list? How can you show the love of Jesus to them?
Shepherds were busy in their fields tending their flock when a host of angels appeared to them. Eager to see the miracle the angels described, they left their fields and headed for Bethlehem. They searched everywhere in the village until they found Mary and Joseph. These laborers were obedient to their call. They represent the everyday workers, the people in our lives who work to make our lives easier. They may also reflect the people we work alongside every day.
Who are the everyday workers or co-workers you can “show” Jesus to?
Following the Jewish tradition, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple when he was 40 days old. A man of great holiness, Simeon, had been seeking the Messiah. God had revealed to him that he would not die before seeing the Savior. Simeon blessed the child and spoke of those who would someday speak out against Jesus and reject them. Then he forewarned Mary that a “sword would pierce her soul” one day. Simeon’s prophecy represents those who are seeking the truth.
Do you know someone who is seeking the truth but has not accepted the gift of Jesus? Has your soul been pierced with hurt for someone else’s salvation?
The prophetess Anna was a faithful elderly widow who never left the temple. She worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. At the temple the day Simeon blessed Jesus, Anna was full of thanksgiving and became the first witness to tell others about the child. She might be among the “invisible people” or the “forgotten ones” as she quietly worked in the temple.
Who are the people around you who would be considered “forgotten?” Do you need to be the hands and feet of Jesus to widow or orphans or the poor this year?
The Magi were men of power and influence in Jesus’ day and were instrumental in selecting Parthian Kings. They knew the Messiah was expected and connected the appearance of an unknown star with his birth. They followed the star to Bethlehem where they bowed down and worshiped the baby Jesus and gave him treasures of gold, incense, and myrrh.
Who are the key people of influence in your life? Are there leaders who need to feel the love of Jesus in a special way this year?
These witnesses remind us that God chose all kinds of people to be a part of the birth story. He chose family members, laborers, seekers, a widow of the forgotten class, and men of power to share the good news. Today he wants all of us to be a part of continuing to spread the gospel.
Let us pray that God will show us the individuals in our world who still need the gift of Jesus. Let’s add them to our spiritual Christmas List.
Every good and perfect gift is from above. James 1:17