Christmas Praise and Thanksgiving

It is Christmas Eve and I have checked my list twice to ensure I did not miss anyone or anything. What about you? Did you purchase all the gifts you wanted? Usually, on Christmas Eve, I realize at the last minute that I forgot something or someone. The afternoons usually consist of me dashing to the store to get a last-minute gift. Unfortunately, it introduces a level of stress that should not exist. I am sure many of you can identify with this scenario.

This Christmas season has been different. We planned a little better but most of all, we made an intentional decision to focus on the TRUE meaning of Christmas and not the commercialism. Sure, we all tell one other that Jesus is the reason for the season, but most of us get caught in the web of commercialism that is applied to the Christmas season. Because of our deliberate focus this year, we are enjoying the season more than ever. Just think about it for a moment. Emmanuel, God With Us, manifested Himself during this season because of His love for you and me. Wow! Although we are undeserving, we are thankful!

Whenever you see scenes/images of the Christmas season, they are often dominated by the beautiful gifts. Perfectly wrapped in beautiful colors, it often seems like the gifts are the most important things on the minds of the photographers and painters. But did you know that on the day Jesus was born on Earth, the focus was not the gifts given to Him? It was about the Gift He is to us and the praise provided to Him.

The Wise Men were not there on the day He was born but the Shepherds were there. In Luke 2:8-20, we see the account of the angels declaring the Good News to the Shepherds followed by an angelic choir concert. It was so startling, yet amazing that the Shepherds immediately went to Bethlehem to see Jesus for themselves. The only “gifts” they presented were themselves along with their praise and thanksgiving. You see, they “heard” the Good News and they had a chance to “experience” Him. The joy of the event caused them to “widely” declare what they heard and saw. They became “Christmas Evangelists!”

What about us? Like the Shepherds, we need to capture the True Joy of the season. Let’s redirect our focus towards Jesus. We need to spread the spirit of praise and thanksgiving to everyone we encounter. Let’s be like the Shepherds and make known what we have been told about the true meaning of Christmas (Luke 2:17). Gifts under the tree a good but they are not as valuable as THE GIFT.

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