"Christmas is a reminder that Jesus emptied Himself. We have a great opportunity to model Him and give of ourselves for others."
I was recently rereading the Christmas story in Matthew 2 about the Wise Men visiting the newborn Jesus. Verse 9 resonated with me in a fresh way: “After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.”
I found it fascinating that the star not only guided them through the desert to Bethlehem, but right to the house where the Christ child was. When they located Him, they worshipped Him, brought Him gifts, and rejoiced over the fact that God had provided a remarkable guide. The Wise Men knew in their hearts that they would never have found the Christ child without the star. This highlighted again for me that the star is a symbol of God’s provision of clear guidance to those who seek Him.
God provided a star that acted as a global positioning system (GPS) for the Wise Men. Similarly, He always provides a GPS for us when we are in need of His direction. Many Christians can look back on a time where they sought God and He provided a way. A GPS from God can come in a variety of forms. It could have been your mom, dad, a spiritual leader or co-worker. On the other hand, you may have received direction from a Scripture verse, an inspirational message or a song. At some moment, God appointed something or someone to be your GPS to guide you to Himself. Reflecting on my spiritual journey, without a GPS I doubt whether I could have found Christ. Perhaps you can relate? Without having a guide to lead us to Christ, we would still be in the desert.
Thankfully, we are no longer in the desert. God calls us to be a guide for others. In the context of our work here at ERDO, I am reminded of the husbands and wives who work all day and all night and still cannot provide enough food for their families. I am reminded of the children who are unable to go to school and have to stand on street corners begging in order to improve their family’s chances of obtaining even basic necessities. I am reminded of entire communities stuck in a continual cycle of poverty and drought. I am reminded of communities I have visited whose only source of water will make them sick. Just as we once were in need of guidance and provision, we are called to be a guide to others and lead them to the Christ child, the hope of nations. Matthew 2:10 says, “When they [the Wise Men] saw the star, they were overjoyed.”
What would it look like if we could be somebody’s star this holiday season? How meaningful would it be for someone to be overjoyed because of your guidance and care? Christmas is a reminder that Jesus emptied Himself. We have a great opportunity to model Him and give of ourselves for others.
Christmas can oftentimes become a season of busyness. We are busy with events at church, shopping, preparing meals, and entertaining guests. Like others, I ask myself: Do we truly take time to appreciate the Christmas moments? In Matthew 2:11, after the Wise Men were guided by the star, they took time to stop and appreciate the moment.
“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.”
During the holiday season, do we truly acknowledge the child of Christmas or do we get so caught up without realizing what these moments truly mean? Children remind us, especially at Christmas, to really appreciate and live in the moment. Soak it up and realize this is a moment that does not happen all the time. I sense God saying to me sometimes that I am missing many moments, and I wonder if you are too. When the Wise Men saw the great gift of the world, their first response was to worship. Our first response should also be to worship. One of the ways we do this is to express the life of love by giving. When we give thoughtfully as worship, we not only help those in need, we express the power of the gospel to change lives—now and forever.
As people of Christ, we have an opportunity to reclaim Christmas. This holiday season, shift your focus and reconnect with the Christ child. Take the time to appreciate these moments and let Him be your guide so that, in turn, you can be a guide to others.
Do you want to lead someone to the child of Christmas? Consider giving of yourself this holiday season and sharing the love of Christ. To give a gift to those in need, please visit www.erdo.ca/giftcatalogue.
ERDO (Emergency Relief & Development Overseas) is the humanitarian organization of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. ERDO is involved in four key areas: Crisis Response, Food Assistance, ChildCARE Plus (Child Sponsorship,) and Community Development. David Adcock is ERDO’s chief executive officer.
This article appeared in the November/December issue of testimony, a bimonthly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. ©2016 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.