The Gift of Being a Neighbor

On coming to the house they saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, and of incense and of myrrh. Matthew 2:11

Most of us do not have much gold lying around the house, fewer still Incense, and probably no one even knows what myrrh is any more. So over the next twelve days I’m going to suggest twelve things you won’t be able to find at the shopping mall or even on-line, that we should be putting on our gift list for Jesus Christ. Today we start with the gift of being a good neighbor.

The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31 – Most of us know that Jesus told us to love our neighbors, but it helps to remember that Jesus had neighbors too! He took the time to talk with them while He was also doing the more miraculous things like healing some of them. Jesus took time to change water into wine at a nearby wedding. He raised a widow’s son from the dead at a neighboring village and showed fisherman how to catch enough fish for a month. But in His own neighborhood Jesus was rejected!

Do you have neighbors who have rejected our friendship, invitations to special events at church or even good mornings at the mailbox? But, their rejection doesn’t get us off the hook from the command to love. Instead, Jesus might say, “Welcome to the club!”  He was so roundly rejected and His own brothers and sisters didn’t believe in Him and even Mary began to wonder about His sanity. But Jesus just kept on doing what He could. Jesus continued to share the good news that God had anointed Him to bring the gospel to the poor, freedom for the captives and sight for the blind. One day some of them would understand. His mother followed Him to the cross. Two of His brothers became apostles and more than half of His disciples came from the nearby city of Capernaum.

How can you give the gift of being a neighbor to someone this Christmas? Shepherds gave him praise. A small boy offered five loaves of bread. The woman at the well gave Him water and a rich man, a tomb to borrow for three days. Ask God for ideas, then step out in faith, because we will never know what He can do with what we give until we place it in His hands!

This morning I’m sharing one of my favorite Christmas songs called There’s a Rose in Bethlehem. May you have a blessed day and stay tuned for eleven more gifts along our journey to Christmas this year.

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