Our culture spends more and more time (re: more and more money) celebrating Christmas each year. Decorations that used to go up sometime after Thanksgiving now deck the malls by Halloween. We trim trees, hang festive lights, gather with family and friends, sing holiday songs, watch Christmas movies, prepare special holiday-themed meals, bake cookies, decorate gingerbread houses and – we celebrate with gifts.
None of it means a thing, however, unless we celebrate the gift that matters – the gift of God’s Son for our salvation.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.—John 3:16
Christmas is when we celebrate God’s most precious gifts to us – the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ and the miracle of his birth.
When Mary first learned that she was to have a baby, God’s angel told her, Behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and will call his name ‘Jesus.’ He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father, David. – Luke 1: 31-32
We can thank God for the gift of His Son by celebrating and caring for all children – our own and those in the world around us – as we would have cared for Baby Jesus, by:
- Providing food, shelter and clothing through monetary donations, by helping at a shelter or volunteering at a food bank, by collecting food and clothing items, by fostering children in your home or by helping to support a friend or neighbor who is caring for foster children.
- Considering adoption is a way families can bless children who need to be shown God’s love through caring parents..
- Educating children by teaching or volunteering at a school, tutoring a child, mentoring a child who may have no one else to look up to. Providing books and school supplies or sponsoring a child in an afterschool program, preschool or missions program.
- Caring for the sick as a medical professional, missionary or hospital volunteer. Raising funds to fight disease or provide medical care or supplies.
- Leading a child to Christ through a church ministry like Sunday school, children’s church, or volunteering at Bible camp or Vacation Bible School.
- Praying for children, their parents, their teachers, our communities and our world.
- Praying for an end to child abuse, child trafficking, war and starvation.
- Caring for and providing for our own children, both physically and spiritually.
- Helping a parent who needs – but can’t afford – child care, or stepping in to lend a hand to parents overwhelmed by a child who has special needs
- Becoming a missionary or volunteering on a missions trip to build a school, hospital, shelter or church. Sponsoring a drive to collect clothing or other donations, and spreading the word about a mission project.
- Help to equip others to work with children by donating money or supplies, or by providing them with training needed to minister to or help children.