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The first Christmas after we were married was pretty slim as Christmases go. I was in the army, living off base in Maryland — and we were broke.
We went down to a Christmas tree lot in town to find a tree, but they were all too expensive. Finally, the owner, seeing my uniform, said, "We have a special price for active military," and gave us a tree for half-price.
We had no lights or ornaments, except a couple boxes of very tiny blue and yellow balls and some pressed Spritz cookies that my wife Jean baked and hung on the tree.
On Christmas morning we opened our gifts to each other. Jean had given me a bird book — which I still have to this day — and I had given her a pin and some fur-lined leather gloves.
It was the leanest Christmas of our lives, but the one I'll remember the best. It was about giving something personal to the one I cherished and receiving something special from the one who loved me.
It is in simple, loving giving and receiving that we find the Heart of the Christmas.
God gave us the most precious thing to Him — His only begotten Son.
He came as a baby, born in a stable, laid in a rough wooden manger, and 33 years later died on a rude wooden cross for our sins. Then Easter morning God raised Him from the dead!
God gave us His most precious, His most costly gift that Christmas night.
And what do you have to give to Him that He really wants?
A prayer? A song? Good, but not enough.
An offering of a few dollars or a few hundred dollars? That's good, but if that's all, it somehow cheapens Christmas and turns it into a commercial transaction. That's only money -- and you can earn more of that.
On Christmas, the only gift that is worthy is to give Him, the only gift He really hopes for, Is that which is most precious to you — and most costly: your heart, your life, your love, your future.
Perhaps you've withheld this special gift from Him, but now is the time. At this special time, don't withhold from Him the only gift He really desires from you.
Father, at this Christmas time we thank You for Your gift of Jesus. And somehow we want to reciprocate, to give You a gift, but we know we have nothing to compare with Your Gift. Yet, right now we open up our hearts to You. We surrender ourselves to You. We give You our hearts. We give You our lives. Please bestow on us Your eternal life. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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- Listening for God's Voice
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- Rebuild & Renew: Post-Exilic Books
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