Lisa Santelli, GFC Lutz 

Acts 20:35 – In the words of Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Christmas Gifts. As I reflect on the season of giving, the main theme that keeps ringing is “Jesus IS the gift”.

The very first Christmas gift was Jesus. He was given to us by our heavenly Father to be the light and hope of the world. So, at Christmas, we celebrate Jesus’ birth by giving to others. How can we share this most beautiful gift? By letting the hope of Jesus that lives in us, shine THROUGH us. The three wise men set some examples. They are most recognized for frankincense, myrrh, and gold. But, honestly, they gave so much more. The wisemen also offered the following:

Gift of Talent: The wise men were scholars, who studied the stars and feared God. After the angel of the Lord appeared, they were obedient and knew how to exercise their talents to follow that extra bright star as it led to the Savior.

How can we give of our talents this season?
We may not all study stars, but we each have skills and talents to offer. Whether making a homemade item, baking cookies or serving someone in need, let us extravagantly shine through our hearts.
Gift of Time: The wise men, also called Magi, are believed to be either priests or kings. I’m guessing they were busy and had lots of responsibilities. But, they dropped what they were doing, sacrificed their time, and traveled afar to see this newborn baby who would be the Savior of the World.

How can we give our time
this season? Let’s try to slow our pace, put down the distractions, and let our presence be a present this Christmas.
Gifts of Treasures: These Magi showcased how much they valued and worshipped Jesus by bringing Him extravagant gifts. Frankincense, known for its healing properties was often used as a symbol of prayer or in offerings. This represented Jesus as the High Priest. Gold was extremely rare and in its purest form exceptionally valuable. This represented how pure and perfect God’s precepts, principles, and promises are to us. And Myrrh is a spice that was used to anoint prophets. This represented that Jesus came as a Prophet and as a fulfillment to prophesy. Each of these gifts were intentional and had purpose.

What treasures can we give
? Choose a gift with purpose and intention. Maybe it’s a bracelet with a word of hope or encouragement, or it’s an experience that would produce joy…like a ticket to the GFC Beautiful conference (yes, that’s our shameless plug). Let’s look for ideas that encourage or showcase the value we see in those we are gifting.

Gift of Testimony: The wise men not only traveled to see Jesus, but they acknowledged Jesus as the Lord and King, then reported to everyone who they had seen.

How can we shine the testimony of Jesus this season? Christmas can be a tough time for many … maybe you or me. For some, there may be a heavy tension between wanting to experience joy but feeling so hopeless and disappointed if we’re walking through a difficult season. We can choose to shine the hope of Jesus to those around us. But, first, there may need to be a pause, take a deep breath and reflect how we are approaching this season ourselves. Let’s release our anxieties and worries to God to make room for His peace. And, once that peace and hope fills us up, it will overflow to those around us. Choosing gratitude  for what we do have and let the joy of the Lord be our strength when we begin to feel weary. My prayer is that we let the hope and joy of Jesus be the greatest gift in all we do this season.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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