Sunday, December 17, 2017

From the Heart: St. Nicholas

Read 2 Cor. 9:1-15

Matt. 25:40 – Jesus said; inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.

Here in America we celebrate many special days for one reason or another. We have just finished our Thanksgiving Day celebration. What a great time to enjoy family and friends and some of the greatest cooking on the planet. And as we celebrate we give thanks for our food, our friends, our families, our great nation and most of all for our God.

As we Americans approach our next holiday, I must confess, I have mixed emotions. You see Christmas is possibly the most misunderstood day of the year. It is glamorize on TV as the day to give our family and friends and even ourselves great gifts. We often think, “we’ve got to get John and Susie something really nice because you know they are going to get something for us.” Truth is we might not even like John and Susie that much but we still feel that obligation. “Why?” You can answer that one for yourself.

Many Christian parents wonder what to tell their children about Santa Claus. Some see red (no pun intended) when they think about that jolly old elf getting all the credit. Others view him as a delightful fantasy that can do no harm. However, we could use Santa as a springboard for reinforcing young minds with the true meaning of Christmas.

For example, when a child asks, “Is Santa real?” Mom or Dad might answer by saying, “No, but hundreds of years ago, there was a man named Nicholas, who later became known as St. Nicholas, and he gave gifts to other because of his love for Jesus. He was born in AD 280, and when he was still a young boy his parents died, leaving him great wealth. Early in his life he devoted himself to serving God. Later, as a bishop in Asia, he gave away much of his wealth to the poor, especially the children. When he was persecuted and put into prison, he always shared his meager provisions with other inmates. He believed that giving to the needy was the same as giving to Jesus. “And that’s what the Bible teaches us to do.”

Most Americans celebrate Christmas day as the birthday of Jesus. The truth is that the Holy Scriptures do not tell us when Jesus was born. It tells us where and why but never when. If God had thought it was important for us to know when, He would have told us. However, if December the 25th brings us closer to God by celebrating his Son, that is a good thing.

The Word of God tells us that Jesus was born in the city of David, “Bethlehem.” That He was born in a stable, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. Many came to celebrate his birth because they knew what the prophets of old had foretold about the Savior. The scripture tells us that Jesus grew in statue and in favor with God and man. And His mission was to seek and save the lost. He was and is the only perfect person to ever live and He gave himself upon that cruel cross at Calvary that He might take away our sins and give us the hope of heaven.

God’s Son was our greatest gift. May we be eternally grateful, not just on Christmas, but always.

Suggestion…¬†This Christmas give a gift to someone who is sad and lonely or someone who has special needs. Ask for God’s guidance and give in the name of Jesus.

PRAYER:

Holy Father, I do humbly come to you today with a grateful heart, thanking you for your continued love and blessings. For I know without a doubt, that all that I have comes from You. You have blessed me in my gladness and in my sorrow and even when I turned my back on you, you never gave up on me. You have heard my laughter and smiled with me. You have heard my cries and gave me strength. And Father, when the world was full of Sin you sent your Son to deliver us from Satan. May our gratitude always be before us as we ponder your gift of love. In Jesus Holy Name, Amen!

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