2 Corinthians 5:18-20
18 “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
I love Christmas and the Advent season. It is a special time of year for families and the church. The Advent season allows us to prepare our hearts for the birth of the Christ child. I also love all of the traditions that come with Christmas – decorating the tree with ornaments that have been passed down from generations, giving and receiving presents, candlelight service at church on Christmas eve, the smell of ginger bread baking and a fresh pine tree in the house, and the anticipation of Christmas day.
One of the traditions of Christmas is the Nativity story. The New Testament contains two Christmas stories. They appear in Matthew 1–2 and Luke 1–2. In the familiar version of the Christmas story, Mary and Joseph travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Because there was no room in the inn, the baby Jesus is born in a stable and placed in a manger. It is important to tell the Nativity story each year to help us better understand the Christ portion of Christmas.
I think as fathers and priests of our houses we should also teach our children about the best Christmas present ever – the blood of Christ on the cross at Calvary. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” We are reconciled to the Father by His sacrifice of His son. God has provided us a path for forgiveness of sins that leads to life everlasting and salvation. We do not deserve this, but we receive it as the ultimate blessing. Ephesians 2:9 instruct us that “Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
So, this Advent season I encourage you to enjoy your family, church services, and all the special traditions of your family. Tell your children or grandchildren the Nativity story but also tell them that Jesus himself is the best present. A life lived in Him and for Him will help build His kingdom on earth and will lead to life everlasting. Now that is some gift!
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist under the direction of the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is concurrently in training to become a Lay Minister under the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He enjoys writing inspirational Christian blogs at toddshupe.com.
Gulf South Men is a regional ministry coming along side churches and men’s ministries by offering Education, Training, Resources, Men’s Events and Mentoring to help churches build effective men’s ministry and make disciples for Christ.
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