A Christmas Gift for Our Lord, Giving “To the Least of These”
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ – Matthew 25:40
From a young child I have found Christmas confusing. It is to be the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the World. Thus it should be a festive time, a time of great joy and happiness “for unto to us a child is born, unto us a Son is given and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” I truly get and enjoy all of that.
Here’s what I find confusing. On my birthday I get gifts and cards from my family and friends. On the birthday of others I give cards and gifts. I enjoy being celebrated and I am sure others do too. But here’s my question. “Why then on Christmas, the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, do we not give gifts to our Lord?” I am sure we say that we laud Him, we adore Him and we worship Him, but shouldn’t we give Him something tangible? Isn’t that what the Magi who worshiped Him and presented Him with gifts — gold, frankincense and myrrh, did (Matthew 2:11)? But, you may ask, “How can we do this if Jesus isn’t visibly here?” True, Jesus is not physically visible on earth today. He told us however how we might give to Him. He told us that what we do “to the least of these” we do to Him. It seems to me that Jesus wants us to give to those who can’t “exchange gifts’ with us. He wants us to give to those who can give nothing back in return. We will get nothing in return then but a pleasing look from our Saviors face.
Our Church, Calvary Chapel, has been given an amazing opportunity to give “to the least of these” this holiday season. We are partnering with the Tim Tebow Foundation to sponsor “A Night to Shine”, a prom night for 14 – 30 year olds with disabilities — some of “the least of these” whom Jesus was talking about. The Tebow Foundation is giving us $5000.00 towards this event to be held at the Staaten on February 10th from 7:00 P.M.-10:00 P.M. That leaves us with about another $7000.00 to raise for the event on our end.
A donor to our ministry has put up a $3000.00 matching gift to encourage us all to get involved in this opportunity financially. Every dollar that we as a church family give will be matched up to $3000.00. There are Pledge Donation Cards (All monies need to be received by Sunday, January 14th 2017) at Church with privacy envelopes and below.
We are providing gift boxes to put our pledge cards into at Church so that we can place our pledges around the Christmas Tree in the front of the sanctuary as gifts to our Lord. To clarify, no cash or checks are to be included with the pledge card. The card reflects our commitment to give the pledged amount by January 14th. (If you are reading this online and want to participate you can send the card or a check into Calvary Chapel, 30 Maple Parkway, Staten Island New York 10303)
We often complain about the commercialization of Christmas and the stress that the season brings. We often say that we must keep Jesus Christ as the focus of Christmas. I believe that as we set aside time and money to invest, to give “to the least of these” in Jesus’ name, we begin to change the focus of this season from anything and everything else to Him. Please seriously pray about giving and your gift and discuss it among your family members. Make a God-led decision and using one of the gift boxes, place it under the tree in the front of the sanctuary. The gifts will be opened on Saturday, January 7th 2017 and the amount calculated secretly. We will announce the grand total on Sunday, January 8th 2017 both in church and online here and at our Facebook page. .
If you want to give online, please go to www.calvarychapelsi.org and use the donate button halfway done on the right hand side. The tab says Donate “to the least of these”.
Blessings and Merry Christmas!
Pastor Dave Watson