“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
What do you like the most about decorating for Christmas? If you could pick your favorite decoration would it be the snowman, the Christmas tree, Santa Claus, the Nativity Scene or Christmas Lights?
As a child I loved looking at all of the Christmas lights. I recall as a little girl driving around with my family and looking at everyone’s beautiful lights on the houses in our little town. The lights at Christmas remind me of the star that lead the wise men to the manger where the baby Jesus was born.
Matthew 2: 9-11
“After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.”
If I had to select just one decoration now as an adult I would choose the Nativity Scene. I enjoy looking at the woodcarvers handiwork on the figurines or the glasswork with intricate details. I’m amazed at the creativity of the paper mache and so many other different types of Nativity Scenes.
I want to share a revised short version of a precious story told by C. Lindell about a small manger scene for one special Christmas.
The Pastor arrived early on Christmas morning to give the church a quick inspection and make sure everything was ready for the Christmas Day Service. He checked the aisles and seats for any lost gloves, old bulletin inserts or Bibles to collect for the lost and found but the church was in perfect condition. He decided to pause beside the almost life-sized nativity scene to say a quick prayer of thanks for the gift of Christ. To his surprise, as he looked at the manger he noticed the baby Jesus figurine was missing. He looked everywhere but couldn’t find it. He called the custodian and a few others from the church but no one had any explanation. In the end, he shook his head in sorrow, he accepted the truth they had all been trying to avoid: The figurine couldn’t have been mislaid or lost-it must have been stolen.
The Pastor went out on the streets of the neighborhood to take a walk and spend time talking with the Lord. Prayer walking was a daily activity for the Pastor. As he was praying for an answer from God he noticed a church members little six-year old boy named Tommy walking ahead of him. The little boy was proudly pulling behind him a brand new red wagon. Tommy’s family could barely make ends meet so the purchase of this wagon must have been a huge sacrifice for his parents. The Pastor decided this little boy was God’s answer to his prayer. God was reminding him that Christmas is all about giving, sacrifice and loving one another.
As the Pastor caught up with Tommy to say “Merry Christmas” he noticed the wagon wasn’t empty. In the wagon was the baby Jesus figurine from the church all wrapped up tightly in a blanket.
Bending down to talk to Tommy face to face the Pastor gently asked Tommy what he was doing this early Christmas morning. And Tommy’s answer changed the Pastors heart forever. Tommy replied,
“Pastor, I’ve been praying all year long and asking Jesus to give me a new red wagon for Christmas. I promised him that when I got my wagon I would give Him the first ride. So look Pastor, I’m taking baby Jesus for His first ride in my red wagon.”
The Pastor stood up as one tear ran down his cheek. He knew this really was the answer to his prayer. Tommy had learned to do what all adults strive to understand. Tommy had learned to think of Jesus first and give Jesus the first ride. They both finished the walk around the block and then returned Jesus to the empty manger inside the church for the wonderful Christmas JOY Service.
Tommy had the right idea. He wanted Jesus to have the first ride. After he received his gift, he gave Jesus all the glory and remembered the One who answered his prayer.
May you and I give the first ride to Jesus this Christmas and all yearlong. May He receive our thanks in the good and bad times and may we look to Him first for our comfort, love and direction for our lives.
Merry Christmas Everyone!