Red Rider BB Gun...

It's Christmas time.  It's a time set aside for family, for lights and decorations, remembering and reflection, for Hallmark movies.  In our family, it's a time for ELF and Polar Express! It's also a time set aside for GIFTS (giving and receiving)!

I've been waiting my whole life for my Red Rider BB gun that will shoot my eye out.  Ok, I had to get that reference in there, but if I'm really honest, I have my list and I'm willing to share!  (A Ford Ranger or Chevy Colorado Pickup is currently at the top of my list.)  Some of us will remember as a kid going through and circling everything in the Sears Wish Book that we wanted.  Yeah, it was pretty much everything.

Over my lifetime, I remember very clearly specific gifts that were under my tree.  Some gifts have long been forgotten, and some gifts will NEVER be forgotten.  Not under the Christmas tree, but at the foot of a different tree, I received the gift of the Son.

God the Father gave his Son... to me and to you.  Full Stop.

Approximately 700 years before Jesus was born, Isaiah wrote... "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; ... and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. "

Wonderful Counselor - A counselor is someone who comes alongside.  JESUS, comes alongside me.  Me! He counsels me, directs me, guides me, encourages me, corrects me, loves me...  Truly astonishing.

Mighty God - never lose sight of the power of Jesus.  We're told he is able to do more than we can imagine and we're told his power is working in us.  He created the universe.  All things are held together by him.  Nothing exists, functions, moves, or remains outside of his powerful hands.  He is mine and I am his.  I'm left both bewildered and astounded.

Everlasting Father - Under his care, his protection, and his provision, we are safe and will be satisfied for all eternity. This name speaks to his character.  Jesus himself,  is my very good good Father.  I'm overwhelmed.

Prince of Peace - Who needs a little Peace?  We all do.  Not only does Jesus bring peace on earth, but he brings eternal peace between me, a sinner, and he, a perfectly righteous God.  Truly extraordinary.

In response to the gift we've received, let's consider what gifts we'll give...

God did not call us to be stingy when it comes to sharing the gift that we've received... the love of Christ.  When we genuinely abide in him, we will bear fruit.  Numerous, big and beautiful fruit.  What will you give this Christmas season?  Can I challenge you to make a plan even now to do something a little bit crazy, creative, and maybe even extraordinary for someone...maybe someone on the outside of your normal associations or gift giving practices?

Here are some practical ideas...

  • Write a card to someone and hand deliver it.  Giving the same Christmas card to friends and family is great, but I'm suggesting a unique card for a person outside of your normal card list with a unique note.
  • Bring Christmas Cookies (or some other item, no shame in buying something at Shoprite!) to a neighbor.  Consider a neighbor you haven't connected or associated with.
  • Make a plan to be/do/give love to someone different than you.  As Jesus did, step outside of your comfort zone.
  • Tell someone of your experience with Jesus.
  • Tell someone what Jesus has done for them.
  • Invite someone to come with you to Beacon's Christmas Walk Event Dec 19 or 20, 6-8pm.
  • Invite someone to come to church with you.  Beacon's Outdoor Candlelight Christmas Eve service, Dec 24, 5pm.

Thank you Jesus.
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Rob Thompson