What does Christmas mean to you?

Pastor Thad Gifford - Contributing Columnist

The Christmas Season is upon us. I have already seen people buying Christmas trees and have been told “Merry Christmas.” We have attended two Christmas dinners and have a few more to go. We also have to start finding the right gift to give to our family and friends. That’s the difficult part of Christmas — finding the “right” gift.

We have four sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren plus Beth’s army of cousins. Last year, one of my grandsons was interested in camping gear. This year his interest is in basketball items. Last year, my granddaughter was interested in cross country running and this year she wants tennis related items for Christmas. Tastes in clothes change. Tastes in DVD movies change. One year it was “Frozen” and last year it was “Star Wars.” I’m not sure what “The” must have theme related gift of this season is so I’ll have to ask around.

If you watch T.V., unless you have a red bow on top of a white car, you have missed everything that has to do with Christmas. If you’re not buying the “hot toys,” then your kids will really be disappointed this year. LeBron just signed a lifetime contract with Nike. (Michael Jordan still holds the record for the number of tennis shoes sold with his name on them, but it won’t be too long until LeBron will hold that title.) And the cost of tennis shoes? A pair of LeBron’s newest shoes will set you back around $200. Heck, I can buy a set of tires for that.

Do you get the picture? For the most part of this article, I have focused in on the “cost” of Christmas. What to buy and what not to buy. What the kids want and what would seemingly be a lump of coal in their stockings if they didn’t get what was on their list. I see parents running from store to store in search of that “perfect Christmas gift.”

Home Shopping Network, QVC and Fingerhut are experiencing their busiest month of business right now. Everyone is looking for a gift that will exceed last year’s gift. Where does it stop? How much do we have to spend to make Christmas “enjoyable?” It takes a lot of time to plan and then shop for presents that will make everyone happy. It takes more time to pay for those presents. I see people laying down the plastic card and saying “charge it” for all of those expensive items and then they will take maybe all of the following year to pay them off. Sometimes, it will take longer because they will just make the minimum payment. I was pleased to watch Dolly Parton’s Christmas movie last year entitled “The Coat of Many Colors.” One point that she made was this. Her parents were not rich by any means, and with having 11 brothers and sisters, many times her Christmas was pretty much what her mom and dad was able to sew or make for them. But the one thing she said really made sense, and that was that Christmas was all about love. The love of her family. The love of their neighbors. And the love of their God.

The Bibles tells us that “God so loved the world (you) that He gave His only Son (Jesus) that whosoever (you) believes would not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) After Christmas, there is a huge pile of wrapping paper and bows and empty boxes. And as soon as the batteries wear out, the “latest and greatest” presents lose their appeal. But what Jesus did for all of us will never lose its appeal. Jesus died on the Cross to pay our sin debt, and if we accept Him as our Savior, He will save us from our sins. It’s not automatic though. We have to accept His gift of eternal life, just like we accept a Christmas present. He bought it for us and paid for it with His life. Now we have to reach out and accept it and make eternal life ours. It’s a personal thing between Him and us.

I hope you will do that this Christmas. It will be the very best gift you could ever receive. How do you do that, you ask? By praying a prayer like this: “Dear God, I know I am a sinner. And I believe that you loved me so much that you allowed your Son, Jesus to die for my sins. I accept Jesus as my Savior and ask Him into my life to be the Manager of it. Thank You for saving me and now help me to live for you. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.” The Bible says if you will call on the name of the Lord, you will be saved. (Romans 10:13) And if you prayed that prayer you are now saved, born into the family of God and you will spend your eternity in Heaven. That is the most perfect gift you could receive this Christmas Season.

And that is Something to Think About for this week.

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Pastor Thad Gifford

Contributing Columnist

Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at m.thad.gifford@gmail.com or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.

Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at 740-852-7800, email him at m.thad.gifford@gmail.com or visit the church’s Facebook page at Crossroadslondon.