Have you ever received a special gift? With the “hustle and bustle” of the Christmas season, I often wonder how many people sing “Jingle Bells” and how many sing “Juggle Bills”! The shopping malls are filled with people searching for “the perfect gift.” A popular Christmas song speaks of different levels of giving during the “Twelve Days of Christmas.”
Recently, I looked through a book in a pastor’s library called “Compound Warfare”. I thought it was relative to the fight against sin and addictions, so I began to read portions of it. I soon found a section that dealt with ancient history examples of the use of gift-giving in warfare. As I read, I learned that in some areas, kings would war with their enemy and the one who gave the greatest gift would be the winner and the loser would withdraw in shame. (Personally, I think all wars should be fought by this method! J) Actually, the Great War between good and evil, between God and Satan, was won by God giving the greatest Gift – His Son. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
One of the unique things that we do to celebrate our relationship with God, especially at Christmas, is that we copy Him in the form of gift-giving. Christmas (with all its decorations, festivities, and songs) culminates, for many, in the opening of gifts. In all of my 45 years on earth, my family celebrates Christmas beginning with reading Luke 2, which tells of the world’s greatest Giver giving the world’s greatest Gift – Jesus Christ. After this, each person reviews the year’s gifts given to us by our Heavenly Father in a time of testimonies and praises to Him. Then, it concludes with the opening of gifts from under the tree. In my early years, I received many gifts from my parents. Now the grandkids, three of which belong to me, get all the gifts and my wife and I sit and watch. Yet, we view this event yearly with sheer delight, perhaps even greater than when we did the receiving. It truly is a blessed thing to give.
That brings me to the purpose of this article. I wish I could share a “Christmas morning” with each of you, enjoying your children with you, sharing the love of the moment. I want to place another gift beneath your tree, or on your table or wherever you gather for your celebration. It is the gift of remembrance.
It is a wonderful thing to remember that God used all of us in this great ministry of Reformers Unanimous to give some of the greatest gifts this season. Oh, they cannot be wrapped, but they can be unwrapped and enjoyed by all. Look at some of these gifts . . .
The materials that study the Spirit-filled life and produce spirit-filled fruit will have greater joy than any present purchased this season.
The gift of a new Dad or Mom because they found Christ through your ministering, will be unwrapped by hundreds this season. Reformers Unanimous is constantly being used as a tool in the hands of workers all over the world to see reconciliation. Repaired relationships and reconciliation of loved ones will cause fullness of real joy for the first time ever for some.
The gift of life will be experienced for many and the word of our testimony will bring victory over drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and other life smuggling things are removed forever and true freedom is found…finally.
The gift of understanding His Word and His will can be heard by all in personal testimonies. The gift of words that reflect upon this personal walk with Christ will be shared with others.
The gifts of love, joy and peace will be enjoyed in the inner man and flow to others, not just during this season, but year round.
Longsuffering, gentleness and goodness will be something received and enjoyed so much that they will given more, quickly wrapped, and placed in another’s lap. This outer change will go unnoticed by only a few.
Faith, meekness, and temperance will be given from a pure heart. There is One that will recognize them before they are ever unwrapped. You will not fool Him with bigger than normal boxes or beautiful outside wrapping. He will notice each and every instance that these are given to Him and others.
Each of these special packages will be cushioned with the crumpled-up, down-home tissue of a joyous fellowship where you can love and be loved, serve and be served, pray and be prayed for and worship without distraction.
These gifts are found wrapped in the knowledge and rest of God’s complete and undiminished love for you. They will be tied with a strong personal relationship with Him.
So, I now place this gift of remembrance there at your favorite gathering place as you celebrate Jesus, and the packaged deal you received “IN HIM.” Remember what you have received and what others have received as a result of this ministry.
Merry Christmas…and have an even happier new year!
Benjamin R. Burks