Wednesday, December 29, 2004

* Pay It Forward *

We're often told that Christmas is
a season of giving, evident in
the gifts we so carefully wrap each
year. But why do we give? Is it just
tradition and ritual, or is there
something more-a symbolic meaning
behind this whole process of
? giving and receiving

We celebrate Christmas because of the
ultimate gift God gave to us: His
.Son, Jesus, as payment for our sin
Oftentimes, it's easy to lose sight
of the meaning of Christmas due to the
glitz, glamour, and over-commercialization
of the holiday season. Yet, as
believers, it is our responsibility to
.realize the profound meaning of this season

In the past, you may have thought of
Christmas as an opportunity to stock up
on your DVD collection, gain a few pounds
from the abundant food, or receive
another pair of socks from in-laws. But
how much do you think about giving
at Christmas by offering your time
? and service to others

When we think of giving, neatly wrapped
presents may be the first things
that come to mind. Yet, this holiday
season, think about ways you can "pay
it forward" and do something kind and
unexpected for a friend, family member
.or someone else in need

The innkeeper offered his inn
Jesus' mother, Mary, offered her body
to the Lord's service; the angel gave
the good news of Christ's coming; the
shepherds and wise men gave praise and
.honor to God by visiting Jesus
Christ's entire life involved service
to others. These are all examples of
kindness we should actively seek
.to follow

While it never gets old opening gifts
and enjoying the festivities of the
holiday season, it's important to never
.forget the reason for our celebration
Two thousand years ago, an innocent
perfect infant, Jesus Christ, entered
this world, only to die a brutal death
over thirty years later-all so that we
.could experience God's abundant grace
This was the first Christmas present
in history. But it wasn't a pretty
package to unwrap Instead, it was a
.selfless act of service

Proverbs 3:3 says, "Do not let
kindness and truth leave you; Bind them
around your neck, write them on the
tablet of your heart."
When we follow
these commandments, we will feel a
sense of fulfillment knowing we
offered a part of ourselves, through
service, to someone else. More
importantly, God will "find favor" in
.our actions

Take some time this holiday season
to pay it forward. You'll never know what
.unexpected kindness means to someone in need

~ Charles Stanley ~

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