The brown paper sack of cornmeal was the most unusual Christmas present I’d ever received. Terry, a shy first grader, placed the unwrapped gift on my desk. I knew that his grandparents sold homemade cornmeal for a limited income, and I suspected giving a bag away was a sacrifice.
I cringed when a saucy little girl in the class wrinkled her nose, pointed to the cornmeal, and asked, “What is THAT? That’s not a Christmas present!”
Noticing Terry’s downcast eyes and slumped shoulders, I cradled the sack in my hands and responded, “It’s cornmeal that Terry’s grandpa made. Now my family can have the best cornbread in town! Thank you, Terry.” The boy’s clear blue eyes peered up at me, and a slight smile brightened his face.
That sack of cornmeal was a sacrifice, the best a family had to offer.
Terry’s package reminded me of a gift Jesus commended.
This poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.
–Mark 12:43-44 NKJV*
The widow’s sacrifice, although of little monetary significance, was valuable to Jesus. Thinking about her offering led me to consider gifts I could give that would be valuable to Him.
After praying, “Lord, what gift do You want from me?”, I found my answer in Matthew 22:37-39.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
That’s what He wants—our love poured out to Him and to those He loves. Perhaps something on the lists below will give you an idea for intentionally expressing love to God and sharing His love with others during the Christmas season.
Ways to express love to God
- During this busy season, designate a daily time to praise God, read Scripture, and seek His wisdom.
- In a journal, list the daily gifts God provides such as mercy, kindness, and forgiveness, then practice extending them to others.
- Light Advent wreath candles and read from a devotional.
- Sing carols as worship to Immanuel.
- Ask Him each day during Advent how you can extend love.
Christmas acts of kindness I’ve observed
- A family of four spent every Christmas Eve singing carols with residents of personal care homes.
- Working holiday hours for employees with out-of-state family, a senior newspaper editor gave up part of his vacation.
- Families opened their homes to international college students who couldn’t travel to their native countries during Christmas break, while others provided food for guests in the Ronald McDonald House.
- In a military community, groups offered fellowship for the families of deployed soldiers.
- A family purchased gifts for a prisoner’s family.
Additional ways to share God’s love with others
- Schedule lunch or a Christmas event with a friend who has no family close by.
- Select an appropriate devotional for a teen.
- Invite neighbors for coffee and distribute Christmas cards with Bible verses.
- Give a donation to a Christ-centered ministry in honor of a friend.
- Invite co-workers to church services and programs.
- Give candy canes and cards to sanitation workers and the mail carrier.
- Pray for each recipient as you wrap gifts.
- Take an Amaryllis bulb in a ceramic container to a shut-in.
I am praying that each reader’s Christmas is filled with the joy of loving God and sharing His love with others.
Please add your ideas in the comment section below.
“Advent is focus on faith that God comes
among us bearing gifts through us.”
*Scripture verses are NKJV.