December 10th 2009

Are We Missing The Point?

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem. … And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
Matthew 2:1, 11 (NKJV)

So we’re roaring down towards Christmas again. All the shops are full of people spending money they haven’t got on presents which most of the recipients won’t care for much—if at all. But then, as the Two Ronnies sketch has it, “It’s all for the children, isn’t it?” 

Interestingly enough, so the statisticians tell us each year, it is charities who lose out big time at this festive season to be jolly and to give gifts. Donations to churches and other charities dip alarmingly during December and January. 

Even donations to the blood bank, which doesn’t cost an arm or a leg (despite what Tony Hancock says) fall off and often result in urgent appeals over the holiday. 

It’s interesting, isn’t it, that the One whom we credit as inspiring this season of gift-giving is often not included in the giving. The Jews are different. At some of their feasts there is the custom of an empty chair for “Elijah”. He may not eat any of the food, of course, but at least there is remembrance of wider ideals in the whirl of their festivities. 

Perhaps Christians celebrating the birth of their Saviour, the one to whom they owe everything they look forward to, could and should include a donation to a favourite charity. Or to a church like this one. Well, the tv and the worldwide web are full of Christmas adverts, so why not slip in a little commercial while you’re not noticing? 

Prayer
Most merciful Father, thank you for your unfailing generosity towards us. So often we human beings are limited in our thinking. Help us to widen our perspectives to take in the important things in life, even as we enjoy the passing scene.

Amen 

Study by John Stettaford 

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