As we enter the season of Advent, we focus again on the angel’s words to the shepherds as recounted in Luke 2:10-11: …but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is for everyone! The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem!” (The Living Bible).
During childhood, we might have had small glimpses of what made Christmas such a special time of the year, but our thoughts and desires tended to be more self-centered with the emphasis on what we hoped to receive. For Susan at age six, it was a bride doll complete with wardrobe, and for Roland at age five, it was a Radio Flyer red wagon. As we grew older, the desire to please the recipient became more important than the gift we might be given. Now that we have grown even older (for sure) and wiser (hopefully), we realize that there is considerable truth in the maxim, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” As we share out of our abundance with those in need—nearby or half a world away—the greater blessing is ours.

Recently I opened a small book from a remote spot on my office bookshelf. Inside was a note in my late mother’s handwriting that included a poem, “The Meaning of Christmas” by Evelyn Liddell, which follows:

Christmas, like the Bible, means varied things to man
To some, a reawakening of God’s momentous plan
To some, a day of gladness, a special time and place
To give a gift, to greet a friend, or wear a smiling face
But some there are who seem to me forever set apart
Who through the years serenely walk
With Christmas in their heart.

At the bottom of the page, my mom had written, “This is one of my very favorite Christmas poems.”
Now, friends, as we share in word and deed God’s love to those around us, may we experience the joy that was promised by God through the gift of his Son, Jesus.

—Roland Freeman

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