Think with me about your Christmases past—back through the tinsel, greenery, and aroma of pumpkin pie. Imagine the presents wrapped in gold or red foil and tied with thick ribbons, and ask yourself, What is the best present I’ve ever received?
People are our best presents. We cherish the gifts they give because they bear their givers’ marks. I find myself embracing family members after a long absence, walking with them down sidewalks dusted with snow, reading stories by the fire, weeping over sorrows.
I wonder what Jesus felt when, as a human, He entered the world He had created. The King of the world came to what was His own (John 1:11) not with trumpets, but in silence; not with servants, but in service. For a time in a land that was rightfully His Jesus forsook a throne for a cross to reconcile the world to God the Father. What an unimaginable present we have received!
We can’t return such a gift. We can, however, in gratitude do as the Magi did: “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh” (Matt. 2:11). Notice the sequence of the Magi’s actions: First they worshiped Jesus; then they gave Him their gifts. From worship flows generosity.
How might we worship God this Christmas? A few suggestions come to mind. In a quiet place read again the story of the Incarnation; thank God for the gift of His Son; imagine yourself as one of the Magi and record the experience of seeing the Savior as a baby. Whatever we do, let’s reflect on the incarnation of Christ—and spend time considering this gift.
As our worship leads to generosity of spirit, let us give the best gift: reconciliation. How? Share the gospel, mend a quarrel, seek out a long-lost friend. Pray for someone who has hurt you. Let go of a grudge. Criticize less, praise more. Listen. Rejoice.
About the Contributors
Charles R. Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God’s Word and His grace. A pastor at heart, Chuck has served as the founder and senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. His leadership as president and now chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary has helped prepare and equip a new generation for ministry. Chuck and his wife Cynthia, have four grown children, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.