When I worked as an associate pastor at a church in Florida, I often got to help with the chapel service for the church’s preschool. Every Christmas we would sing a song called “Happy Birthday Jesus.” It went something like “Happy birthday, Jesus. We’re so glad it’s Christmas. All the carols and bells, and the tinsel is swell but the real gift is you. . . .” I’ve been thinking today about how we celebrate Jesus’ birthday, or at least how He would want us to celebrate it. I mean, what do you give to the One who creates everything in the first place? It’s kind of the same difficulty as trying to buy for people who don’t really need anything and who go out and get what they want when they do. In some ways gift giving would be so much easier if we were all children.
Yet there is a wonderful answer to this question in scripture, from Jesus Himself. It says this:
Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundstion of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. . . . Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me. Matthew 25:34-40
When we want to give Jesus a gift, we simply give to those who need it. It can be stocking stuffers for young men whose families won’t give them anything, who may not even speak to them; it can be a doll for a young girl on behalf of a relative in prison who just wants her to know she is loved and remembered; it could be a cookie to a neighbor you’ve never met, who may have lost hope; it could be singing “Silent Night” to a someone on campus who has felt completely isolated and alone on a campus of nearly 20,000. I just know that when we reach out to others with love, Jesus is blessed. He smiles in wonder and joy the way a child does when seeing brightly colored presents under a tree. We love Jesus best by loving others, especially those who cannot repay us.
If you want to experience that special joy of knowing you have made a difference beyond yourself, knowing you have touched Jesus’ heart, come and join us. It is sure to be wonder-full fun.