First Gift of Christmas – Being a neighbor
Sometimes we Christians get really hung up on what we should be doing to celebrate Christmas. Many just dive in to mall shopping, with scarcely a passing thought at the appropriateness of celebrating our Savior’s birth by buying everything in sight. Others militantly burn the Christmas tree, fire Santa and feel that sending Christmas cards wastes money better given to the Salvation Army. Then there are the guys like me who celebrate with most of the outward trappings, but feel miserably guilty at enjoying the seasonal fun while much of our world is in such trouble. I thought it interesting to imagine Jesus as a man in our modern world. What would the Word made into human form do for Christmas? This is the first of twelve gifts which I would like to call the 12 gifts of Christmas. Please feel free to fill out this list with things I haven’t thought of.
First Christmas Gift: Talk to your neighbor! While most of us know that Jesus tells us to love our neighbor, how many of us have stopped to wonder how Jesus handled that? Jesus had neighbors too! In fact one day as Jesus was meeting with His neighbors a funny thing happened…
Matthew 13:54-57 When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” So they were offended at Him.
Sounds like Jesus couldn’t win for losing. He took the time to talk with his neighbors Jesus was also doing mighty works (Like healing some of them) but He was rejected. How often have we decided in advance to ignore our neighbors or to avoid them because they might reject us? If Jesus were here today I believe He would say something to us like, “Welcome to the club!” The chances of rejection don’t get us off the hook from the command to love. If we feel funny about talking to our neighbors, maybe we should just start out by finding out what their name is. The most important thing to anyone is their name. How about trying to meet a neighbor as your first gift of Christmas?