Our young people had a very special opportunity this year to give as Christmas gifts copies of the devotional book A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada. First the young people sang, presented the story of Bethlehem and then spent time one on one with about 35-40 residents, staff and family. Of course someone baked cookies as well and there were tears, laughter and joy as we shared together the miracle of Christmas.
This past Christmas our youth got together to not just prepare a Christmas program for the nursing home but to also raise funds to purchase devotionals from Joni and Friends ministry for gifts. One of the highlights of our practice was spending an hour wrapping each book. Some came out better than others! Did you ever stop to wonder where we came up with the idea of gift wrapping? Isn’t the gift itself what people really want? I think it all comes down to presentation and that is something even God chose to do when he sent Jesus to that manger in Bethlehem!
but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:7-8
In a strange sort of way Jesus was God, gift wrapped! Before you think we are straying into some strange teaching pause to think of some reasons we have for gift wrapping. First we wrap up a gift to keep it a surprise. In that same way Jesus came to that humble stable of Bethlehem as a baby. From the outside no one could see who He was. It took angels telling the shepherds to get an audience for His birth! God came gift wrapped in humanity. The Father chose this way so that only those whose hearts were humble could know what the gift was.
Another reason for wrapping is to say. “Here I prepared this just for you!” In that same way Jesus was sent, not only for the whole world, but also for each one of us individually. Just as he sat by the well for one woman and went to the pool of Bethesda for one man, so also He gives Himself to each of us one by one.
Some of us open presents on Christmas Eve and others Christmas morning but for all of us the gifts are wrapped and sitting under the tree because it makes us wait till the right time to open them.
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law Galatians 4:4
You might remember that God also came down on Mount Sinai during the Exodus story. But it was not the right time for the gift to be opened. People were terrified. No one could approach the mountain and Moses was only allowed to glimpse God after He had passed by and was going away. But at just the right time Jesus came, the gift was presented and we by faith could begin to unwrap the fullness of the love God in Jesus Christ.
This did take a while to process the video but I was so touched by our youth and by the help of all the parents this past Christmas. They sang, presented the nativity and helped to raise the offering that enabled us to give a copy of the Book by Joni Eareckson Tada “Spectacle of Glory to each resident and to some of the staff. What a blessing to be included with such a great group of people. It doesn’t take a group of professionals to share the message of Jesus. Be blessed!
I haven’t posted much lately because we have been preparing for our Christmas program for Allied Services Skilled nursing. This was a special year in many ways. First of all I was so grateful for all the youth and parents who gave their best this past Wednesday night. We had an interesting cast. Joseph was from Peru, Mary was a Brazilian and we had a Brazilian/American king!
Also this year we had a fund raiser in order to give as a gift to each resident a copy of Joni Eareckson Tada’s new devotional “Spectacle of Glory” . They graciously discounted us about 60% off of the retail to help us along. Two of the mom’s from the church hauled in all the robes and helped to dress the youth. As an authentic touch a client of mine donated an antique wooden cradle for the manger. I will be posting video next week but here are a few photos of our night. With all that was said and done it was truly a night of worship and a night to remember!
saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:2