For years I would do a three-week series around the holidays called, the Three Gifts of Christmas, it was based on the story of the wise men bringing gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus. In our home we incorporated the idea as well, there would be three gifts in each stocking, and three nice gifts for each of us under the tree. This last year the series paused, as we stepped down from our pastorate, but after a year off, and a lot of requests for its return, its back. Now in written form in a single blog, here are my three Christmas gifts for you as we merge into 2024.
The first gift is the gift of maybe today. It is the hope of every prayer. The hope for those who have sickness in their body, a loved one facing illness, or a marriage that is on the brinks. Maybe today is the hope of a parent with a prodigal child, for the person who needs a change in their career, or the lonely person longing for a spouse. After years of seeking help from physicians, the woman with an issue of blood went to Jesus, hoping maybe today things would be different. In a moment, with a single touch of Jesus’ garment, all of her not todays turned into yes today. There are prayers I’ve prayed for years. Each time they’ve been met with a no, or worse, silence, but I don’t give up. I keep praying, hoping that maybe this time, it will be answered with a yes. Why should you keep believing? Why have faith? Why keep praying? Because of the gift of maybe today. No matter how discouraged, how overwhelmed, or how defeated you may feel, never let go of maybe today. Wake up each day, believe with every prayer, that your maybe might come today.
The second gift of Christmas in 2023 is the gift of suddenly. We find the word suddenly, which means “quickly, without warning, unexpectedly,” thirteen times in the New Testament. It is the nature of God to do things without warning. Suddenly’s were a part of Jesus’ birth and His ascension. When Jesus walked on this earth blinded eyes were open, deaf ears unstopped, and lame lives were changed in a moment. Suddenly’s have been eliminated or are discouraged in most modern-day church services, but they are something that people are desperately longing for. Suddenly’s were common throughout the book of Acts. Noise, wind, fire and the Spirit fell suddenly in the upper room, on Cornelius and his house, and on John’s disciples on Paul’s third missionary journey. I encourage you to live life, to get up every day, with the expectation, that just maybe, a suddenly might happen. You serve a God who loves suddenly’s!
Finally, my last gift of Christmas is the gift exceedingly. God always does things extraordinarily! When He turned water into wine, it wasn’t a little, but 10 large jars, and it was just wine, but the finest wine. When He provided food for 5000 men, plus women and children, all left full, and there were twelve overflowing baskets of leftovers. When He gave His blood, it wasn’t for a few people or some sins, but it was enough to cover every sin that every person might commit. God goes above and beyond, He does exceedingly! Live your life expecting, not just a little or enough favor and blessings, but live expecting exceedingly!
This year I feel that the three gifts that God gave me to share are gifts people are to take into 2024. It’s one thing to get a gift, it’s another to use it. How many gifts end up in drawers, closets, or worse, Goodwill’s or garage sales. That isn’t where these gifts are supposed to end up. These gifts are supposed to encourage you, inspire you, and give you hope. Tough days will come and discouragement will visit you in 2024, but when they do, pull these gifts out of the depths of your heart and they will carry you to a better day and better year. If you will, maybe today a suddenly will exceedingly overwhelm you.