The arrival of Christmas announces to the world again that God walked among men through the supernatural conception and virgin birth of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:23).
To me, the Advent season brings a celebration of both birth and rebirth. While I revel in the yearly yuletide spirit that Christmas brings, I rejoice daily in the hope and blessings that Christ’s birth has brought to me personally, for I have been born again!
A new spiritual rebirth has delivered me from sin’s deceptive death walk (Proverbs 14:12) unto the purity and power of second blessing holiness and the assurance of everlasting life. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Christmas brings to me a rebirth of nostalgia. The season stirs fond memories of childhood Christmases dating back to the Great Depression.
Christmas after Christmas, no money was available at our house for presents. Nevertheless, just prior to Christmas Eve, Mother would send Dad to the little country store three miles away with a list of items that soon filled a big burlap bag. At the store, the good grocer sold to Dad on credit, candy, apples, oranges, nuts, and other goodies. I can still see dear old Dad coming home with that large sack of Christmas treats on his back and hear an older brother facetiously announce, “Here comes Santa Claus!”
Although Dad and Mom could not provide toys or other presents, the spirit of Christmas was never missing. We were taught the significance of the occasion; we loved one another and were grateful for such things as we had.
One Christmas, Grandma Betz, our only living grandparent, gave us a little gift. Then in her late 70s, she gleaned pecans to provide one shiny dime for each of her more than 30 grandchildren. At only six cents per pound, Grandma’s pecan project required many hours of backbending toil.
All the grandchildren loved Grandma Betz! Not for one dime received, but for her Christlike kindness and love, of which her sacrificial gift was only a token.
She gave us the greatest gift possible when she gave us the assurance that she loved us!
Now, over 50 years later, while reminiscing and putting my thoughts on paper, all I want for Christmas is that same Christlike spirit and an entirely unselfish heart that enables me to give others the assurance that someone cares. I want to share with them the true joy that God gave to the world that first Christmas night— the joy of loving, giving, and sharing.
Belonging to the family of God and becoming a member of the Church of the Nazarene has blessed me with unlimited opportunities to share with others in a multiplicity of ways. For instance, at our local church, we bring a birthday gift to Jesus each Christmas. Those who can afford it bring one dollar for each birthday they have celebrated. Those who can’t afford it may bring smaller amounts. This Christmas my gift will be 60 dollars. (Forty of those birthdays were celebrated as a Christian with 32 of the 40 as shepherd of my first and only flock.) When all gifts are gathered, we send them to the Nazarene Ministerial Benevolent Fund to help support our retired ministers. What a wonderful way to share!
There are many beautiful ways Christians can share throughout the year, as well as at Christmas. A group from our church shares a service with a local nursing home each week. Then on the Sunday preceding Christmas, after singing carols, telling the Christmas story, and praying, each resident receives candy, cookies, and Kool-Aid. The shut-ins love it! But the greatest joy is ours, for in sharing with them, we share with Christ. His words, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40), become a reality in our own hearts and lives. Because we have shared with them and Him, we receive a double blessing.
As a child of His, all I want for Christmas my Heavenly Father has already graciously given to me to enjoy and to share the year around— His love and the assurance of everlasting life.
Herald of Holiness December 1, 1983
Please note: This article was originally published in 1983. All facts, figures, and titles were accurate to the best of our knowledge at that time but may have since changed.