Throughout December, we are sharing different people's reflections on what Christmas means to them. Today youth worker Ysica Savage shares her thoughts.
I remember as a child getting so excited about birthday parties. (Didnt we all?) Especially when it was my birthday; a day people gave me presents and baked my favourite cake - probably Grandmas strawberry sponge cake at the time. It was all about me. Not because I had done anything special, simply because I was the birthday girl.
I also enjoyed going to my friends birthday parties... The excitement of trying to find the perfect present, organising surprises, seeing the smile on their face when we would turn off the lights, bring out the cake and burst into song!
Most people know that Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Basically, its a world-wide, international, over-mediatised, great big birthday party! Somehow Jesus was so special that we've even turned his birthday into a holiday so that everyone could be invited.
So, logically speaking, if we claim to be celebrating Jesus birthday, the questions we should be asking ourselves are, What gift can we offer to Jesus
this year? What can we do that would really please him?
Its not all about me this time. Its all about Jesus. That only seems fair, dont you think? But is that a reality in our lives? Are we really focusing on Jesus at Christmas? And how can we do that?
I believe the Bible gives a clear answer to this. These are Jesus words in Matthew chapter 25:
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. () Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. (Verses 35-36,40).
Providing for others. Inviting others. Giving to others. Caring for others. Visiting others. These are all ways in which we can show Jesus we love Him this Christmas. Thats why for me, Christmas is about giving.
Please just take a moment right now and think of one or two people you could provide for, invite over, give to, care for or visit this Christmas. Im serious, please do stop reading and think about it.
Now plan to do it! This might cost you something (time, money, energy) but arent we usually prepared to pay something when buying a birthday present for a loved one?
And lets not forget what Jesus gave to us. John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus gave nothing less than his life so that we could be saved and live forever with Him. Jesus was no ordinary man and Christmas is no ordinary birthday party. We arent just celebrating His birth but also who He is and what He's done.
I dont know you. But my guess is that you dont usually turn up to a party without knowing what youre celebrating. Why should Christmas be any different? If you dont know Jesus yet, get to know Him and find out for yourself what He's done for you, and I promise youll find a whole new meaning to Christmas.
Youthwork intern at St Michael's Stoke Gifford