As I sit here reflecting on the year, I can't help but to think about how fast everything moves during the baseball seasons. We can get so bogged down by the constant go-go-go and forget to appreciate life and all the blessings we have. So, this year for Christmas, I decided to share a message with you instead of just sharing a holiday graphic.
Many people know the story of Jesus and His birth in a manger. "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." (Matthew 1:23)
"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told." (Luke 2:4-20)
Another part of this story is the Wise Men that visited Jesus and gave Him gifts after His birth. "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi (Wise Men) from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2) They followed a bright star in the sky because they wanted to find the one prophesied to be the ruler and savior of God's people. "On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh." (Matthew 2:11)
The Wise Men gave gifts as a form of worship of the Son of God. Many people lose sight of the reason for the season and the reason we give gifts. If you ask a kid what the meaning of Christmas is, you will most likely hear "Jesus' birthday." That is definitely a huge part of it. But why do we have presents? It's a representation of the way the Wise Men worshiped Jesus. We give presents at Christmas as a way to show our appreciation for the loved ones in our lives. You should not give expecting to receive something in return. The Wise Men traveled thousands of miles to see the King of the Jews and when they found him, they responded with joy, worship and gifts. They never expected anything in return from Mary, Joseph, or Jesus. Our expectation of gifts in today's society is similar to how we treat God most times. We expect God to look for us, explain himself, prove himself, and give us gifts. We have lost sight of why we even have presents. Giving is why we have presents. A joyful giver needs nothing in return, but the presents were never the reason we celebrated Christmas. Jesus is the reason! Those who are wise seek and worship Jesus (like the Wise Men), not for what they get, but for who He is. THAT is why the Wise Men sought out Jesus. Their example is what we should follow all year, and especially during the Christmas season.
This year, give with a cheerful heart and be grateful for anything you are blessed with. Worship the Lord in any form you see fit and seek Him always!
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
Coach Mike McAllister