Giving gifts that matter
by PASTOR Michael Cisler
North Kent Bible Church
I don’t want anyone to get upset with me, but there are a lot of countdown clocks to Christmas, and many of them have already begun counting down. I would love to write this devotion with the theme of Jesus being the reason for Christmas and not losing sight of that through all of the things that we do surrounding this holiday. However, that might be better received as we get closer to Christmas itself. I would like to share with you some things that God has been putting in my heart as I prepare for Christmas.
In Isaiah 58, God speaks through the prophet Isaiah concerning what He desires in fasting. Fasting had turned into a practice that was more about other people seeing our fake righteousness, than the desire that God had for it from the beginning. In this chapter, God talks about wanting people who are involved in loosening the chains of injustice, setting the oppressed free, feeding the hungry, providing shelter for the homeless, and meeting the needs of those in need. In Isaiah 58:10, it says, “…and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” Now what does this have to do with preparing for Christmas?
Many of us are probably already compiling lists of gifts that we need to buy for others. Our names are being compiled on other people’s lists. Have you ever considered replacing some of those gifts with gifts that really matter? What if, rather than buying a $20 neck tie for your brother-in-law, you donated that $20 in his name instead. It is amazing what $20 can do to bless those in need. North Kent Community Services can turn $20 into an astounding amount of food to give to our neighbors who may need some assistance. I recently learned that through some organizations $20 can buy enough food to feed 100 orphans in Malawi, Africa for an entire week.
I think now is a good time to begin talking to others with whom we exchange gifts for Christmas and encourage them to give to others in need in our name. This is the year that we can truly give gifts that matter.