“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV).
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 a real tree with ornaments and bubble lights 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, the anticipation of Christmas day, and watching my kids open their presents.
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
In 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. “ 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.” We have been forgiven by the Father! This is a good time for us to reflect on the need to forgive others as Jesus taught us the Lord’s Prayer, “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us” (Matthew 6:12).
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!
Prayer: Dear God, Thank you for sending your son to earth. Thank you for giving us the way, the truth, and the life. Help keep us mindful that His blood is the most precious gift that we can ever receive. Amen.
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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