Holiday Gifts: Is Jesus Restrained by Wrapping Paper?

The Best Gift: No Sale, Promo Code, or Rebate Needed

It’s December again, and the holiday shopping season is in full effect.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself casually driving past various retail outlets and looking in amazement. Although I’ve quietly chosen to opt out of the commercialism of the season, from the look of the parking lots I’ve had to ask myself if I have somehow missed a huge announcement of a massive free give away.

In my part of the country, parking lots are filled to capacity. The crowds are colossal! From mammoth warehouse clubs to exclusive boutiques, from specialty shops to department stores and in every retail space in between, it seems that everyone is searching for the perfect gift.

While the consensus of the season has historically been “peace on earth and goodwill towards men”, the simple turning of the calendar page from one month to another has done little to ease the restlessness of the world’s aching heart.

Will the answer to blatant, racial tensions in America be discovered inside the walls of an elegantly wrapped box?

If we dig deep enough into our holiday-themed gift bags, will we find solutions to the complex questions about the future of our nation, the world, and our place in it?

What’s really under all those layers of sparkly tissue paper?

What the World Needs Now?

holiday gifts

The world’s system has offered us retail therapy as a quick fix for our collective hurts, fears, and empty places.

If we are not careful, the latest marketing campaign from the nation’s largest retailers will be successful, convincing us that our spirits can be soothed by simply acquiring more things.   Perhaps we can immerse ourselves in the brilliance of the rich colors displayed on our new 70” LED 4K Ultra HD TV screens.

Maybe we can drown out the hollow silence in our hearts by installing the newest 2.1-channel sound bar system with the wireless subwoofer. Surely the digital amplifier will mute the hope for something greater in our lives than what we already know. If immersing ourselves in entertainment doesn’t work, then perhaps we can cover the stench that festers in our decaying souls with our favorite designer fragrances.

Somehow, we have been deceived into believing that our newest designer handbags were crafted to heavenly standards of perfection.  We mistakenly trust that they are strong enough to carry the weight of our issues.  The glimmer of the clearest cut diamond does not shine enough light into our darkest places. The latest mobile phone technology, even with all of its advanced LTE speeds, will never connect us to God’s presence.

Unwrap Your Faith

holiday giftWe who are called by the name of Christ have a responsibility to share our hope in Him with the people around us who don’t know Him (1 Peter 3:15). As children of God, as Team Jesus, we have been commanded to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19).  This is not an option or a choice. Along with this instruction from Christ comes the responsibility to do it.

Sharing this hope is as simple as sharing your testimony of the difference that Christ has made in your life.  You don’t have to have all of the answers.  You are not required to know Greek and Hebrew. All that is required is a real-life, one-on-one brief conversation about Christ and what He’s done for you.

How to share your faith

  • Don’t be weird and random. There’s nothing more awkward than a person acting “super spiritual” or “holier than thou”.
  • Love people by genuinely listening to them. Tune into their hearts and notice what areas they are struggling in and offer to pray for them.
  • It is not our jobs to ‘fix’ anyone. Be gracious in your approach and not judgmental. No one likes to be beaten over the head with the rules of religion or with scripture.  Our walk with Christ is not about religion, but relationship.

This video by Dare 2 Share Ministries also provides some simple and useful tips:

 

So, What’s the Play Call?

Take time during this holiday season to be sensitive to the people around you. Offer yourself to be used by God. Allow yourself to be the hands and feet of Christ.

It may be the senior citizen needing a little help with their bags at the grocery store. Perhaps it’s the stressed out mom with a fussy baby who needs a little encouragement.  It may even be the tattooed, pierced young person that you’re secretly judging.  These are the very ones that need God’s light.  They will only see it through you.

You may be surprised at what God accomplishes through you as you share His greatest gift!

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