“Fear not,” said the angel, ” I bring you glad tidings of great joy. For born to all this night, in the City of David, is the Saviour, who is Christ the King. You will find the Child in Bethlehem, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” — Luke 2:10-11
When I was a young girl (about 10 years old) my father had left home and my mother and I were very sad. I didn’t think we would have a Christmas that year. It was such a sad time and money was scarce. I remember awakening Christmas morning and seeing there were so many gifts under the tree. Mother had bought me more than ever before. There was a fake fur coat that I had wanted, beautiful clothes, and a little diamond ring. I was overjoyed by her gifts.
The following year things were still not good. We visited aunts and uncles all day on Christmas Eve and at 6:00 pm, as always, we went to church for the candlelight service. When we arrived home it was late. While we were gone, unbeknownst to us, Dad had come by and left presents for me and Mother under the tree. Christmas morning came and there were plenty of gifts. Mom was only able to give me shampoo, hair spray and other things she bought for me whether it was Christmas or not. Mother made sure I had gifts, but she could not afford to buy anything extra. Daddy had brought us some great gifts, and we had a joyous Christmas.
God always made sure I had something nice, even when times were hard. Mom showed me how to celebrate Christmas during the good times and the hard times. She taught me it’s not about how much you get or give. It’s about celebrating the birth of our Lord, Jesus. Many years later, I found myself alone and lonely. It was a hard Christmas Eve but I got myself up and dragged myself to a church service. It wasn’t even my church. I knew in spite of myself that church was where I belonged on Christmas Eve. While at the service, Holy Spirit filled my mind with Joy. That is all I can tell you. I was filled with joy. All the sadness dissipated as the service progressed. I went home that night and read from my Bible the marvelous story of our Savior’s birth.
Fast forward many more years and my son had lost his job. His wife had left him and I had hardly enough to take care of us. There was very little money for Christmas. That Christmas was sad, but I was now the mother and it was my responsibility to lift my family up and show them how to bring the Joy into Christmas. I wrapped up shampoo, shaving cream and things I had to buy anyway. I made sure everyone had one nicer gift under the tree. But Christmas was lean. On December 23rd, I took the family out to look at the Christmas lights. It was hard to get the rest of the family to be happy. I talked, I tried to sing Christmas Carols, I laughed, and it lifted me up, but I could not get my family to understand that it’s not about anything but the Joy of Christmas; that joy that passes all understanding. On Christmas Eve we went to church for the candlelight service. The wonder of His birth brought joy to my family.
Then, several years later, we were blessed with prosperity again. I was able to provide a Christmas of plenty. Everyone got what they dreamed of. They all received lots of nice gifts and there was a lot of joy and happiness. We all went to candlelight service on Christmas Eve. When we got home and everyone had opened their gifts with happiness and glee, I told them the story I’m sharing with you. It’s not about how much you give. When you have the money, you give nice gifts. When you don’t have the money you make do, but the Joy of Christmas is always in the air at Christmas time. IT IS NOT ABOUT THE GIFTS YOU RECEIVE! It is about the gift you received when you received Christ as your personal Savior. Keep that at the forefront of all your celebrating and you will have a joyous Christmas.