Tips for Joyful Gift Giving

The Gifts of the Magi and the Gift of God

“And they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11).

Is gift giving a joy or a stress for you? Why is gift giving many times so stressful, especially during the holiday season? We may find ourselves worrying about things like: “Who should I buy presents for this year? What should I get them? When am I going to have time for shopping? How much should I spend? How can I afford this??” One reason I believe gift-giving can be so stressful is that our materialistic, commercialized culture imposes so many expectations upon us. The Bible provides many examples of gift giving and gives us some ideas about the proper motives and attitudes of giving. Some of these may be helpful towards making the giving of gifts more of a pleasure than a burden.

Matthew’s gospel account of the Christmas story tells of wise men, or magi, who came from somewhere in the East (possibly Persia, Arabia or India) to see the Christ child and offered Him gifts. In this account we can see several things about the wise men and observe some lessons about gift giving: Continue reading “Tips for Joyful Gift Giving”

Is Something Missing from Your Christmas?

star-of-bethlehem“We’re in danger of losing Christmas…A subtle but sure erosion is eating away the season’s true significance.” –  John F. MacArthur, The Miracle of Christmas

I intended to write a little something this week about the true meaning of Christmas, but I came across a book I have by John MacArthur called The Miracle of Christmas in which he expresses so well the thoughts I would like to share, that I figured I would just borrow from the book, and let MacArthur speak on my behalf.

In his Introduction, MacArthur explains that his book is an attempt to counteract the two most common responses toward Christmas that are essentially corrupting the truth and erasing the message behind it: 1) the mythologizing of the Christmas story, and 2) the secularization of it. He goes on to explain: Continue reading “Is Something Missing from Your Christmas?”

A Fresh Look at the Christmas Story: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

“Just suppose you had never heard the Christmas story, and didn’t know anything about it, and then somebody told it to you. What would you think?”


Before I talk about the book, let me just clarify something. I know that Jesus was not actually born on December 25, and possibly not even in the month of December. However, the birth of Jesus Christ is not only an historical fact, but arguably the most important event to ever occur in history (besides His crucifixion and resurrection). If people consider the births of other men, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abraham Lincoln, worthy of recognition (not to mention our own individual birthdays), then it is reasonable to choose a date to commemorate the birth of Christ. And yes, I am also aware that some of the traditions associated with Christmas, like the Christmas tree, have their origins in pagan practices. I see nothing wrong with borrowing practices from other traditions and assigning new meaning to them. So when I refer to the Christmas story, as this book does, I am talking about the birth of Christ as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is a hilarious but touching little story about a family of “hoodlums” that hijacks a Sunday School Christmas program.  Now I don’t mean just naughty, disobedient children who don’t listen. I’m talking about six loud, dirty, cigar-smoking, foul-talking, fire-setting vandals – or to put it in the words of the young narrator – the “absolutely worst kids in the history of the world.” All the other kids (and their parents) in the neighborhood  do whatever they can to avoid the Herdmans, so when they show up one Sunday at church looking for free food, no one quite knows what to do. And when they start volunteering to take the major roles in the annual Christmas pageant, everyone is sure the result will be nothing less than a disaster. Continue reading “A Fresh Look at the Christmas Story: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”