It’s always an exciting time of year, for young and old. Christmas means holidays, family time, turkey, a time of love and warmth and, best of all, a time of giving. For many, the sharing of presents is what Christmas is all about and excitement knows no bounds as the time draws near to jump out of bed on Christmas morning and find what’s under the Christmas tree.

That’s the picture associated with Christmas – families gathered around a decorated tree, coffee mugs in hand, while children want time to stand still as they celebrate what for them, is the best day of the year.

Yet there is more to Christmas, the reason behind Christmas, where the greatest gift of all was given to us – the birth of Jesus. In today’s commercial world, the true meaning of Christmas is lost in the frenzy of shopping and spending money, when all we have to do is the opposite. We need to find time to stand still for a moment, a time when we can spread His word and appreciate that Christmas is coming.

While we celebrate Jesus’ birth, it’s appropriate that giving is the central theme of Christmas. Jesus came to give us new life. He died for us to enable us to be forgiven and start a new life. That is the greatest gift of all and by us opening our hearts to family, friends and even strangers – those in need and those who would otherwise never experience the joy of Christmas – we are, in a small but significant way, continuing Jesus’ work by being kind, understanding and embracing those around us, regardless of who they might be and what they may have done or been through in life. Christmas is birth. It heralds a new beginning. Family feuds and differences are settled, people’s hearts become clean and it’s the ideal time for people to experience a birth of their own, a new life in Jesus, living in His Word, His Way and His Light. As a star guided the wise men and shepherds to the stable, so too can we become stars, guiding people to Jesus, changing their lives, setting them on a journey of wisdom, patience, honesty, understanding and spiritual fulfillment. A beaming smile, a tear in the eye and a warm hug speaks volumes of the great joy of giving at Christmas. Gifts are an added bonus. It’s caring, spending time with someone who is lonely, kicking a ball with an orphaned child, hugging a destitute person, even wishing a person a blessed Christmas that really counts. That shows what’s in your heart, that keeps the light burning bright and that is what brings hope to people and the world.

Let’s get excited about Christmas and share the joy with everyone. Greet a stranger, shake a hand and let the world see the glory of Jesus in His people, the people He died for, the people He forgives and above all, the people that He loves. A blessed Christmas to everyone and enjoy the gifts Jesus has given you.

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