678. A Christmas Remembered

When Ricky came to take our order, Stan said him, “You got a minute?”

“I do,” Ricky replied, “things are kind of slow this morning.”

“Have a seat,” Stan said, “I have a short Christmas story to tell.”

Ricky sat down and joined us.

“Growing up on the farm,” Stan began, “we lived quite a distance from the nearest town.  Each year when Christmas was a couple of weeks away, the whole family would drive to town together to do our Christmas shopping.”

“All in one day?” Ricky asked.

“Yeah,” Stan replied, “things were different then.”

“Each of the kids,” he continued, “would save money throughout the year in order to buy gifts for the rest of the family on that day of shopping.”

“That seems like a good approach to teach generosity and gift-giving,” I added.

“It was,” Stan replied, “but one year, when I was about ten years old, I had been too selfish and I had not saved any money.  As the day to go Christmas shopping got closer, I got more miserable.  I didn’t know what I was going to do.  I had nothing to give.”

“Did you tell your parents what was going on?” Ricky asked.

“No,” Stan said, “I didn’t want to admit I had been so foolish.  However, my parents somehow knew my predicament.  This is the part of the story that showed me something that I did not truly appreciate about Christmas until I became a Christian many years later.”

“What was that?” I asked.

“As the family was getting in the car to head to town,” Stan replied, “my dad said he wanted to talk to me.  Fearing the worst, I went up to him ready for what he might say.  He said nothing as he handed me some money.  It was more than enough to buy Christmas presents for everyone in the family!”

“You must have been relieved,” Ricky said, and I agreed.

“Masters of the understatement!” Stan replied.  “I was so happy and relieved with what my dad did, I was almost floating on air the whole day while we were Christmas shopping.  I was able to buy a gift for each person in the family.”

Continuing, he added, “As I became a Christian and have realized the magnificent provision of God’s free and gracious gift of Christmas, I have come to see my dad’s gift to me as a reflection of God’s provision.”

“Was your dad a Christian?” I asked.

“No, he wasn’t,” Stan replied, “but as I have reflected on my dad’s gift to me that allowed me to buy gifts for others, I have seen that God can use anyone to show someone else His grace and mercy.”

“The point of Christmas,” he continued, “is God’s free and gracious gift of Christ.  That gift flowed and continues to flow out of His love.  I didn’t know that as a child who had nothing to give, but I know it now and it’s at the heart of everything.”

Concluding, Stan said, “Merry Christmas, my friends.  Remember the glorious reason for the celebration of Christmas:  we all had nothing, but we were given everything.”

__________________________________

And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all of the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a savior, who is Christ the Lord.  Luke 2:10, 11.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16.

And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.  John 17:3.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for the gift of Christmas.  Through your provision I have the assurance of life eternally with you when it’s time; and I have the gift of being able to pursue knowing you and Jesus more deeply while you keep me on this side of eternity.  All from your grace and mercy that flow out of your love.  Please open me to see all of your provision in whatever way you have for me to see.  Not only see your provision, but to live it in such ways that others will know your magnificent provision of the Christ and the reason we celebrate His birth.  Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in His name.  Amen.

Think on this:  Christmas is filled with memories for all of us.  Do you have the memory of when Christ was  born in you?  If not, why have you not created that memory?  Do you want to know the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas?  Why or why not?  If you do not know the story and have not made it part of your story, do you know how to do that?

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