Reading from our Christmas ServiceDecember 22, 2006
Shelley Wells is a long-term member of Gateway Fellowship (not an easy feat considering we haven’t been around as a faith community for that long) and is currently a student at one of the local colleges. During our Christmas service last Sunday, she read a piece she had recently written and it affected many people. I am reprinting it here with her permission as she read it.
Every year, the messages of Christmas commercialism become increasingly prominent. Maybe you’ve been trying not to notice. Maybe you’ve been avoiding the signs. Maybe it only recently became overwhelmingly relevant when you realized that the Sponge Bob Monopoly set your kids want for Christmas is going to cost almost four times as much as regular Monopoly. Supposedly, the holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year, but with a decrease in daylight, and an increase in responsibilities—bills to pay, family get-togethers to plan—all the while trying to find the right gift for the right person during holiday rush when the mall is a madhouse, the kids all want to see Santa, and everyone is in a bad mood because it took an hour-and-a-half to find parking, it really seems more like the most exhausting time of the year.
Christmas is the time for the giving and receiving of gifts. And, sure, gifts are great, but I often wonder if they cause us to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. Remember, the first Christmas gift was a baby:
· Because it says in the Bible that God loved us so much that He sent His own son down to be sin for us, to take our place on the cross so that we could have life;
· Because Sponge Bob Monopoly only lasts as long as the pieces are intact and the cards aren’t missing;
· But the gift of eternal life is just that: eternal.
The day Jesus was born, God gave a gift to each one of us: an expression of limitless and unconditional love. That day, God gave us a promise of the forgiveness of a debt He knew we could never repay on our own. Christmas is the celebration of life; not just of Jesus’ life, but our own life, and of God’s love for us. So give your gifts, but more importantly, most importantly, this Christmas, give the gift of love. That’s the only gift that truly keeps on giving.