A MOMENT FOR MISSION
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. — John 1:5
We often consider Christmas as a season of giving. Much of our energy is spent discerning which gifts we will give to those on our lists.
We go about the task of gift giving in many ways. Some have made a list, checked it twice and accomplished their objectives by October. Others complete their shopping at the last minute.
For the planner, procrastinator and people in between, gift giving is a tradition. Is it done in remembrance of the gifts given by the Magi? Is it in remembrance of the gift of Jesus to the world?
The season of Christmas in The United Methodist Church begins on sundown on Dec. 24 and lasts until the Epiphany of the Lord on Jan. 6. In some traditions, gifts are given on each of these days. It is duringhis time that we are reminded that no gift, no matter how hard we search, will ever compare to what we received when Jesus came to Earth as one of us.
The gift of presence of God with us, the gift of his ministry with the hopeless and the disenfranchised was a bright light shining into the darkest of places. There are still dark places that need the gift of Jesus' light. We belong to this light and we can give this light to a world that desperately needs it.
Giver of Light, we thank you, O God, for the gift of Jesus entering into the darkness of sin and despair that we might know joy and light and love. Inspire us to share this gift of Jesus with the world. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Christmas Eve or Christmas Day - Great God our Redeemer, we sing your praises. Your glorious love shines in the face of Jesus, born a babe in this dark world. We marvel that he generously humbled himself to bring salvation. How precious is your gift of love! Let the light in our sanctuary and our songs of praise spill through the windows to neighbors dwelling in darkness. May our gifts and offerings reflect the light of Christ and, as beacons in the night, draw people far and near closer to you. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen. (Titus 2)
In the tradition of The United Methodist Church, Christmas begins on sundown on Christmas Eve and lasts until the Epiphany of our Lord on Jan. 6. These days of the Christmas season are called the 12 days of Christmas, and in some traditions, gifts are given each day.
We celebrate Christmas today in many ways. For some, it means the celebration of family. There are traditional meals, Christmas carols and, of course, the holiday gift giving. Where did this tradition begin?
Some attribute it to be a symbolic action reminding us of the gifts of the Magi, who brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to present to Jesus. While these seem like strange gifts for a child, they were the gifts you would present to a king at the time. Others attribute it as a response to the gift of Jesus.
No gift can compare to Jesus, and on Christmas, we celebrate by receiving this gift and sharing it!