It’s the season of Christmas and we are busy with the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the big day. But if you are like me, you need to be reminded that Christmas is first and foremost a birthday celebration. We busily search for just the right gift for Mom and Dad, Billy, Suzy and Uncle Joe, that we can often overlook giving a gift to the one whose birth we are celebrating.
Last weekend I saw a beautiful example of a gift given to Jesus.
After my performance at a church in Elk Grove, California, where I had shared about the work of World Vision and their sponsorship program, there was a young girl who really wanted to sponsor a specific child. She waited around clutching a the picture folder, waiting to talk to her parents. Her father finally came over to the table, but told the girl they would not be able to sponsor the child and placed the folder back on the table among the other pictures of children needing sponsors. The little girl walked away, heart-broken.
Another lady from the church observed this scene. She pulled the father aside and there was a brief conversation. With the father’s blessing this lady sponsored the child as a gift to the little girl. That picture folder was going to be under the tree waiting for that little girl on Christmas morning.
What a great example of the true meaning of Christmas!
How do you give a gift to Jesus on his birthday? This girl, and this dear lady know the answer to that question. Jesus gives us his very own Christmas “wish list.” He is very explicit in how we can give him a gift. It is found in the parable of the sheep and the goats. It goes like this:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25: 34-40 (NIV)
If you would like to give a gift to Jesus this Christmas, sponsoring a child with World Vision is one excellent way you can do that. You can even do it as a gift to another person—you pay the sponsorship and let the gift recipient participate in the relationship with the sponsored child. What a great gift for a parent or grandparent to give to their children and grandchildren!