I have an ear-worm. Not a wriggly slimy thing in my ear but a song that is going round and round in my head:
‘A time for giving, a time for getting, A time for forgiving, a time for forgetting’
These are lyrics from ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ – a song that doubtless has been heard across the supermarket aisles as we all prepare for Christmas.
I will be ready and keen to give out presents to family and friends on Christmas Day. But I am conscious there are others to think about too. I can’t ignore the fact that my money could be helping those who have very little. My challenge is to remember that God gave us his son, Jesus, and we are reminded by the adult Jesus to think of those who have less than us. If everyone reading this magazine were to share what we have, even in a small way, this would really make a difference to those who have nothing Christmassy to look forward to this year. Perhaps we could all donate extra to the food bank, or call on an elderly neighbour with some mince pies, or help with someone’s shopping. There are plenty of ways we can give even if we have no spare money – is there someone who would be pleased to see you if you dropped in to say hello? Can you encourage a friend?
But what about the other line I have quoted that keeps going round my head? Have we a relative or friend to forgive this Christmas? And can we try to forget past upsets? This would reflect back on us by taking away angry or resentful feelings. That’s a gift to the one who needs forgiving and to yourself.
So what is the meaning of present giving? It is a representation of all God has given us and a reminder of the gifts given to the baby Jesus. We mustn’t forget the greatest gift of all – God’s son. The song says Christmas is:
‘A time for living, a time for believing’
What do you believe as you give and receive gifts this holiday season? Are you looking for more joy and peace in your life? It’s:
‘Yours for the taking. Just follow the Master’.
Who is the Master? The song points us to the person who is the whole reason for Christmas – Jesus Christ.