Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Christmas Giving

Pastor Blake Cromwell
December '02

Christmas roars upon us with its demands and joys. Kids will be out of school seeking adventure and the latest PlayStation game. There will be Christmas parties and family gatherings. There are gifts to buy and special Christmas programs to attend. Every year there is a tremendous pressure to keep alive the real meaning of Christmas.

Giving gifts is an expression of our desire to do as Father God did and give to others. It is always a delight to bless family and friends with an expression of love for them. But to increase the Christmas miracle we must give to others less fortunate than ourselves.

The simple and profound message of Christmas is that God gave what we all needed and couldn’t obtain for ourselves. His gift was His Son who provides salvation for whosoever will trust in His birth, death and resurrection.

Adopting a family in need, giving to a orphan or working at a soup kitchen are all ways to bring the spirit of Christmas to others who are not as fortunate.

Recently I told a true story of giving to our church and I’d like to share it with you in the hope it will inspire you to be like God and give to others that which they cannot get for themselves.

Joel Morgan planned to visit missionaries in Eastern Europe. So he asked some friends what to pack. They said snacks for yourself because there isn’t much to eat in the rural villages of Eastern Europe. As he walked through the grocery store, he prayed “Lord, what might make it through customs.” He picked up Reese’s peanut butter cups, some tapioca pudding, some hard candy and gum, and some malt, some small cans of fruit cocktail. When Joel arrived in Romania, he stayed with a missionary family who were living in very harsh conditions, often without heat and electricity, they enjoyed a very good evening of conversation and prayer together. And as Joel started to leave, he remembered the snacks he had brought for himself and he had an idea. He thought, you know it is only October, but why not use these snacks to celebrate an early Christmas? So he got out his backpack and began to play Santa Claus in their living room. He asked the missionaries’ two teenage daughters, if you could have one thing from the U.S., what would it be? In unison, they said “candy!” “What kind?” Joel asked. The mother chimed in, “the girls love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. But they are not available here.” With a lump in his throat, Joel pulled out the king size package and the girls began jumping up and down laughing as they held their gift.

Wiping away a tear, Joel asked their mother, “Well, what item from back home would brighten your day?” Now, this was a big risk. I mean what if she asked for a side of beef? She said sheepishly, “I miss fruit, especially citrus.” Reaching into his bag, Joel pulled out a can of fruit cocktail and mandarin oranges. Now everybody was laughing, and everybody was wiping away tears.

After a time of celebration, Joel turned to the father and he thought about pulling out the few remaining items left in his bag and letting the dad make the decision, two out of three miracles ain’t bad. You know, why press your luck? But something deep down inside Joel shouted, “Go for it!” And before he could argue with God, he heard himself ask, “Gary, what is your favorite dessert?” The dad smiled and said, “you know, it’s something nobody else in the world likes…tapioca pudding.” Joel nearly injured himself pulling out the snack pack of tapioca pudding that God had prompted him to buy seven days earlier and 4,000 miles away.

In reality Christmas giving should be a way of life. Love is seeing a need in others and helping to meet that need. The Pastors in the Kings County want you to know that God loves and has a plan to bless your life.

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