Thursday, December 11, 2008

Give a goat to Jesus this Christmas

Last night the children’s choirs did an excellent job presenting the story of Christ’s coming to a packed house. It’s not easy to stand up in front of a bunch of people and sing songs or recite lines, so congratulations to all the children on such a wonderful concert. In their singing, they reminded us that Christmas is ultimately about the incarnation. It is about the God-on-high becoming God-with-us. It’s about the one who was and is and is to come showing up and being born. God now has a birthday. Remarkable!

As with any birthday, it is right and good to celebrate. For as grand as our Christmas celebrations may get, they probably all pale in comparison to what Christ deserves. What do you do to celebrate the birthday of the king? We, of course, give gifts to one another. This isn’t as bad as it seems. A gift given in love to a friend or family member surely pleases God, but certainly giving gifts to one another, especially to those who already have so much, is not all there is to celebrating God’s birthday. Jesus once said something like this, “You want to give a gift to me? Give it to the least of these. A cup of cold water, a meal, some clothes, a visit – give to those in need of such things and it’s just like you gave the gift to me” (see Matthew 25:31-46).

It can be pretty embarrassing to show up to a party without a gift. And yet, when we make Christmas all about ourselves, our family, and our friends that’s exactly what we do. We give everyone a gift but Jesus. So, if you want to be prepared for the party this year, you better get to shopping on behalf of the least of these. Here are three places you could do just that (obviously this is not an exhaustive list).

  1. Our church – give to the Christmas Offering. All gifts go to benefit the ministry of Water for All, a ministry of Southland Baptist Church led by Terry and Kathy Waller. Terry and Kathy serve the Lord in Bolivia, but their ministry of digging water wells for the world’s poor takes them around the world. Your gift this Christmas will go a long way in helping place a cup of cold water in the hands of the least of these of our world.
  2. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Store – Browse the online catalog, pick a gift, send a check. An easy way to give a gift to the least of these. If you can’t get this to work online, we have catalogs in the office.
  3. The World Vision Catalog - Browse the online catalog, pick a gift (they have goats, chickens, you name it), send a check or pay online. Another easy way to give a gift to the least of these.

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me – Matthew 25:40.

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