24 Days Until Christmas!
Song: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” by Casting Crowns
Christmas Album: “A Christmas Together” by John Denver and the Muppets
Christmas DVD: “Christmas in Connecticut”
Netflix Movie: “Journey to the Christmas Star” (2012)
Amazon Prime Movie: “Christmas Is Here Again”
Feeln Movie: “The Horses of McBride”
• “The Year Without a Santa Claus,” 6 p.m., FreeForm
• “Broadcasting Christmas,” 6 p.m., Hallmark
• “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” 7:05 p.m., FreeForm
• “The Great Christmas Light Fight,” 7 p.m., Disney
• “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” 8 p.m., ABC
• “Good Luck Charlie, It’s Christmas!” 8 p.m., Disney
• “A Heavenly Christmas,” 8 p.m., Hallmark
• “A Nanny for Christmas,” 8 p.m., LMN
• Thursday Night Football: Dallas at Minnesota, 8:20 p.m., NBC• “The Santa Clause,” 9:15 p.m., FreeForm
• “Family for Christmas,” 10 p.m., Hallmark
• “Christmas in the City,” 10 p.m., LMN
• “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas,” 11:20 p.m., FreeForm
Recipe: Warm, Sticky Figgy Pudding
Quick Thought for Christmas
“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”
2 Corinthians 9:15
We’ve heard it our entire lives. “Christmas is a season of giving!”
That’s why from the time you were a tot your Mom and Dad would make you use your allowance to buy presents for your brother or sister or cousin or, well, you get the point. In spite of what we’ve known about Christmas Day – namely, that we’re going to get a big haul of presents – we’ve been taught that it’s not about that haul, but about what we can give to others.
And honestly, they had it right. Of course, they had good teachers to convey that lesson. Your grandparents taught them. And your great-grandparents taught them. And somewhere down the line, God taught somebody that, because that’s where the real lesson comes from. God is the ultimate giver, because He gave each of us life, and He sustains that life daily with air and water and food. He gave us people to love and cherish us. He needs our needs and wants. And above all, He gave us a way to spend eternity with Him in a much better place than this. (And even though this can be a cool place, especially when you’re surrounded by your Christmas list come-to-life, the reward that awaits in the next life is much, much better.)
The bottom line is that because God is such a great giver, He values giving among His people. More importantly, He loves a cheerful giver. Paul even said that exact thing in 2 Corinthians 9:7. (So it must be true!) He wants us to give back to Him. He wants us to give to others. And He wants us to share the love He’s shown us with those around us. But, here’s the key – He wants us to do that cheerfully!
It’s not like when you were eight years old and gave your brother a pair of underwear and he said, “Thanks, dummy,” and you said, “Whatever, stupid.” That’s not the kind of attitude that the Lord wants from us, because it completely devalues the gift that’s being given. Gifts – whether it’s toys or underwear or food or just spending time – should be given from a heart filled with love.
Honestly, that starts with showing true thanksgiving to God for what He’s already given us. Greater than even life or the sustaining of it, He gave us His love and His Son. That’s the inexpressible gift, and we should thank Him every day for it. When you’re truly thankful for what the Lord has done – and for what other people have done – for you, then you can pour the love from your heart into those around you, whether you know them or not.
Today, take just a few minutes and thank God for everything He’s given you. Also think of what other people have done for you. You can probably just look around your house and see a wealth of things that you’re blessed with. Give thanks for those things, and then begin to think of what you can do for someone else today. Start the Christmas season out right by being a giver.
Reflection copyright © 2016 by Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.