Every Thanksgiving my family members are expected to provide a list of presents that they want for Christmas. Yet, the more I ponder about what I want, I can’t think of anything that I really need this year. Rather than waste money on presents that I may not use or want, all I need for this Christmas is to spend time with my family. After working my first sixty-hour week leading up to Thanksgiving, family is what makes the holidays special.
I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who [g]infuses inner strength into me; I am [h]self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency], Philippians 4:13.
This perspective was conceived after listening to the song You and I by Oceans Above. The lyrics of this song start off with a prayer request for a wide range of individuals throughout the world. Similar to the beatitudes in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-7, the lead singer turns their prayer toward “what I need.” Part of the chorus references the words of the apostle Paul in the passage below. What Christians really need is for Jesus to be strong in your weak moments in life.
But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and [b]show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may [c]pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! 10 So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [[d]in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful [e]in divine strength), 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.
Therefore, don’t make Christmas self- centered by seeking presents. Instead, it’s time for me to be the giver rather than a receiver. One of my favorite Christmas gifts over the years was a letter from someone I met on a Misson’s trip in college. Despite not receiving a letter in return for 3 months, I continued to write to see how they were doing. When I returned home during Christmas break, I got a letter about all the trials she had endured. Sometimes the greatest gift is not giving up on those who have lost hope.
by Jay Mankus