Christmas

  

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Melodious monday: Noel

This song…. the lyrics are amazing. I hope as we sing new and old Christmas songs that we would find ourselves contemplating the words deeply and evaluating whether or not we are truly responding appropriately. Sunday morning as we sang O Holy Night I was struck by the lyrics “Fall on your knees….” And yet no one was compelled to their knees, myself included. I am not judging the motives of anyone’s heart or actions. I guess I just pray that we would not be inhibited as we worship the King. 🙂 

Bow to babe on blended knee, the Saviour of humanity……

Noel, Noel…

Come and see what God has done…

The story of amazing Love,…

The Light of the world, given for us.

The Scrooge in me….

There are some of us that around Christmas time we feel a bit like a “Scrooge”. I was having a conversation with a friend about how excessive Christmas can seem in light of, not only the abundance we live in but also the real reason we celebrate. We struggle with buying more when everyone we know has enough. Every Christmas I fear we’re missing the point (again) because we are distracted by shopping, spending, wrapping, traveling, cooking, party hopping, gift exchanging, on and on and round and round the crazy Christmas carousel we go. “How do you stop the madness?!”, I wonder. The Scrooge in me wants to cry out “That’s it! No more presents! We don’t need one more item, one more gift card…..” (Quite frankly, I’m tired of storing and cleaning all this STUFF.) Yet the Spirit of God in me says, “Calm down dear daughter. I am the Giver and I delight in giving good gifts. It’s why I sent my Son.”

Here are a couple things the Lord has reminded me about gift giving around this time of year:

1.) Think about who you’re giving to and where they are at in their relationship with Christ. Do they even have relationship with Christ?
2.) Will not giving gifts to others represent Christ well? Will they understand where you are coming from? There is a place for moderating our giving but it may be reserved for those closest to us, in our home, who know our motives and are joined with us in them.
3.) It’s not about you. God may be impressing and revealing things to us that others are not able to see yet. Don’t let legalism creep in and snatch your opportunity to generously love someone closer to Christ.

With all that being said I want to share with you a couple ways that you can give gifts AND be intentional with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Consider them gifts with a greater purpose.

Christian books are always a great gift, in my book 😉 pun intended. Butter your reader up to their new literature with a 10 dollar Starbucks card. Can’t hurt 🙂 I highly recommend anything by Francis Chan, he spans generations with Crazy Love and Forgotten God and also has one specifically for married couples, You and Me Forever. I’ve read them all and they are solid. Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman is good, as is The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. I am in the middle of reading Radical by David Platt and plan to make it a Christmas gift myself. 🙂 If you are uncertain about a book ask someone who is mature in their faith that you can trust to point you in the right direction. Just because it’s in the Christian section of Barnes and Noble doesn’t mean it’s Christ exalting.

A good study Bible from Christianbook.com would be a most excellent gift for someone new in their faith journey. If in your budget have it imprinted with their name to make it extra special 🙂 I know Bibles can be expensive but honestly,….. can you even put a price on the Word of God? I don’t think so.

Katie Davis Majors is the author of Kisses from Katie and founder of Amazima ministries. You can learn more about her through the website. This *link* will take you to the store where you will find handmade items that benefit and empower women and children in Uganda through the ministry of Amazima. I recently purchased an Alice bracelet. Not only do the proceeds serve a greater purpose but consider the story behind the bracelet when it’s worn and how that in itself can point others to Jesus. Win Win 🙂 Not to mention it’s very cute!

You can find gift items at other places, Lifeway is one suggestion, where the proceeds benefit foreign missions or a specific cause. We just have to be intentional in finding these kinds of gifts.

So for those of us who struggle with the Scrooge complex…… let us overcome it with joyful, godly, prayerful and purposeful giving.

A living sacrifice in uncertain times

God has been laying a specific thought on me in relation to giving. Uncertainty. Or as Oswald Chambers puts it “Gracious uncertainty”.

God is so unexpected in how he operates. I was reminded by the timeless Christmas song “Mary did you know?” How much faith Jesus mother, Mary, had to exercise in so many moments of uncertainty. From the time she became, shockingly, pregnant with the Messiah. To the point at which she watched him be brutally murdered on a cross. And then consider the disciples… In Mark it says of Jesus “Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.” (Mark 6:7-8) They had to feel at least a little uncertain.. But Jesus wants us to grow in complete and utter dependence on him. So he WILL ask us or just put us in situations where we have no other choice but to rely on him alone.

When we give, whether it be time, energy, money, affections.. we are acknowledging that something is valuable and worth investing in. Often times though God calls us to invest in things we are uncertain about. He calls us to give to people, causes, and places that we have no idea if we will ever see a return on the investment. The challenge for us in giving is we want to be certain that what we gave was well spent. When we give we are confronted with the choice to either trust in ourselves, our knowledge, and our attempts to control or to trust in God, his knowledge and his control… Giving often places us in the vulnerable position of being uncertain. But remember, Mary and the disciples were not given any more foreknowledge then us. They simply had to trust.

In the words of Oswald Chambers: “We are not uncertain of God, but uncertain of what He is going to do next. ‘Believe also in Me,’ Jesus said. Not- ‘Believe certain things about Me.’ Leave the whole thing to Him. It is gloriously uncertain how He will come in, but He will come. Remain loyal to Him.”

Friends, be certain of God. We live in a world full of uncertainty but we have a God that we can trust completely. Stay faithful to Him.

“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 (Thessalonians‬ ‭1‬:‭11-12‬ NIV)