John and June Cash
This Christmas season got off to quite a forgetable bang. I thought I would go to a movie that was spiritually inspiring, sale so I chose “Walk the Line, generic for sale ” which is the life story of Johnny and June (Carter) Cash. I wanted to see how Hollywood would depict the strong commitments both of them made to Christ in the latter parts of their careers. Of course, sales Hollywood left that out completely. All I was left with was the part of their lives both repented of and most likely wanted to forget. How disappointed Johnny and June must have been to see their life stories depicted in such a way without the most important part, their commitment to Christ. So much for Hollywood’s ability to tell a true and spirutally uplifting story at Christmas time. Perhaps the Chronicles of Narnia will be better; we’ll see.
Then I decided to get in the right mood for Christmas by doing some Christmas shopping. So the day after Thanksgiving I went shopping with my wife and mother at the Glendale Mall in Southern California. What a mistake that was! It took me an hour to find a parking place, and when I did, there were lines just to get into each store. I mused, there is really something wrong with this Christmas picture. Why am I here standing in a line to pay money for gifts that most likely will be long forgotten in a few months? After about an hour and a half of wading through a sea of frenzied humanity, I had had it. I grabbed my wife Myrna and said, “Let’s go, this is not Christmas by any stretch of the imagination.” We left the mall praying it would not take us all day to get out of the parking lot. Our prayers were answered; it only took us about thirty minutes to get out of the materialistic mess. So what is Christmas all about? Well, it is not a Hollywood movie that was an incomplete and unfinished story of two stars, nor is it shopping for gifts in a crowded mall. It is quite simply the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ; nothing more, and nothing less.
In this coming Christmas season, I suggest you not give your time to the movie industry, that can’t tell the true story of a wonderful Godly life, nor to the merchants so desparate for your hard earnings. Instead, give your time to the Christ story, which won’t be found in a local theatre, but in the Bible (Matthew and Luke), and give gifts that are meaningful and memorable, perhaps as I suggest below
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25 Christmas Gifts
Wrap a large box with Christmas paper so that the lid is separate from the bottom. Gather 24 visuals and write out the tags that go inside each gift. Each gift is an object lesson with a visual aid, a Scripture passage, and a discussion question. Open one gift a day. The items to procure are underlined below.
December 1: Open the large box containing the other 24 gifts and read the enclosed tag to the entire family: Today we are starting a Christmas project. We will open a different present for the next 24 days to remind us of God’s most precious gift–His Son Jesus. Read John 3:16 and ask who among you has received this gift of Jesus into their lives.
December 2: A food item- Does food always stay the same even after a long time? No, it changes when it gets old, doesn’t it? The Lord Jesus never does, though He is always the same. Read Hebrews 13:8, it supports this concept. Why is it important for the Lord Jesus never to change?”
December 3: A heart-shaped object – Hearts remind us of love. We love others, but God loves us even more. Read I Corinthians 13:4-7. How many things about love can we find in these verses?
December 4: A piece of soap- Talk about the Lord washing His disciples’ feet. Read John 13:5-17, which stresses that the disciples were to serve others. How can each of us be a servant to others?
December 5: A piece of bread for each person- While eating, read Matthew 4:1-11. When we are tempted, how can we resist it as the Lord Jesus did?
December 6: A small candle- Light it. A candle gives light. In Matthew 5:14-16 we see that Jesus told His followers not to hide their light. What did He mean by this? How can we be light to show the Lord Jesus to others?
December 7: A small Christmas-wrapped Bible- Write on the tag, “God gives us His words in the Bible.” Read 2 Timothy 3:16,17. How does the Bible help us to live like Christians?
December 8: A rubber band- See this rubber band? When we twist and stretch it, it becomes tight. That’s a good example of how we feel inside when we worry. If we don’t twist it, it is soft and relaxed. That is how God wants us to relax in Him. What do we need to do so that we can trust God and relax inside? ReadPhillipians 4:6,7.
December 9: A blank piece of paper with the word “sin”; partially erased- When you make a mistake writing, you erase it. When you do or think something wrong, it’s called “sin.” But you can ask the Lord Jesus to forgive you and He will forget all about it. Read Ephesians 4:32 and I John 1:9.
December 10: An empty package- Read John 20:1-9. Were you surprised to find this present empty? So was Peter when he went into Jesus’ tomb and found it empty. But He was born to die for our sins and be resurrected from the dead. What does ‘resurrected’ mean? Since the Lord Jesus is alive, how does that affect our lives?
December 11: A cotton ball with perfume on it- Read…This smells good, doesn’t it? What the Lord did for us by dying for our sins smelled good to God. That’s what Ephesians 5:2 says. What nice thing have each of us done lately that smells good to God?
December 12: A happy face sticker- Is there something you can do to make God happy? Colossians 3:20 talks about obedience. How can each of us be obedient today?
December 13: A tiny globe- God made the earth and everything in it, and that includes you. Read Genesis 1:1 and Psalm 139:13-16. Did you know that you are special to God?
December 14: A small battery- A battery gives a flashlight the power to make light, and so it is with the Holy Spirit who enables us to let the Lord Jesus live out His life in us. Read Romans 15:13.
December 15: A penny for each person- God gives us everything we have and wants us to offer a part of it back to Him. Read 2 Corinthians 9:7. How does God want us to respond when we give to him?
December 16: A plastic lid- We use a lid or seal to hold something inside a container. Read Ephesians 1:13. Who does God use to seal our salvation in us?
December 17: A plastic toy sheep- Sheep follow their shepherd’s voice just as we should listen to our Shepherd’s voice. Read John 10:4. What things does He tell us to do?
December 18: A piece of modeling clay- Read Romans 12:1,2 to stress Christ’s molding us into His image.
December 19: A pair of scissors- Create paper crowns. Read James 1:12.
December 20: A match- Use it to burn something worthless. Read I Corinthians 3:10-15.
December 21: An angel doll- Read I Thessalonians 4:16. Talk about Christ’s second coming.
December 22: A toy boat- Lead into a discussion about being afraid. Read Mark 4:35-41.
December 23: A tiny piece of concrete- Explain that Christ is the cornerstone. Read Luke 6:47-49.
December 24: A picture of a friend- Emphasize who our neighbor is and how we are to love him. Read Galatians 5:14.
December 25: Some photographs of your children (when they were babies)- Talk about your children’s babyhood years. Read the Christmas account in Luke 2:1-20. Remind them that Jesus was a baby too. When He grew up, He fulfilled His mission to save the people of the world by dying for their sins. Like Jesus, your children have a mission too, which is to proclaim Jesus as Lord to the world they were born into.
Have a great Christmas,
Kent and Myrna McClain