“The Gift”

“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

~Luke 1:31-33

I’ve been having a hard time getting in the Christmas spirit this year. My son, Eric, is 22 years old and no longer gets excited over this, or any, holiday. It is also the first Christmas without my mom. In an attempt to become filled with holiday spirit, I decided that I would try to do one “Christmas-y” thing each weekend of December.

Last weekend I attended the Aaron Shust Christmas concert and it was a great blessing. He is a very talented musician and singer who oozes with love for Christ. It was a beautiful way to start the Christmas season.

Tonight I was blessed to witness “The Gift,” a live musical nativity performance put on every year by my church, Back Mountain Harvest Assembly of God. This is the 22nd year for the theatrical production, complete with live camels and pyrotechnics. I’m relatively new to the church, so this was the first time I attended. It will definitely not be my last.

Me and Patty

Me and Patty, the beautiful angel who is always sparkling…no glitter necessary

I’ve seen other live nativities over the years, but from the start of the first scene, I knew this was going to be incredible. “The Gift” began with an argument between God and Satan and was a powerful reminder that Satan is ALWAYS on the attack. The Bible tells us that we are not fighting flesh and blood enemies but powers of the unseen world. Ephesians 6:12 (NLT) I thought it was pure genius to remind us of WHY we need a Savior in the first place.

As “The Gift” continued I became completely lost in what was happening before me. I have read the Christmas story in the Gospel of Luke hundreds of times, but as I watched it unfold before my eyes, it took on a whole new meaning. My Savior, Prince of Peace, King of Kings came into this world so humbly and He did this for me. That’s all that kept going through my head as the tears rolled down my cheeks. He did this for me.

Jesus Christ came down from His throne in Heaven, for me, and for you, to save us. The reality of that just completely overtook me tonight. It is my prayer that we all remember what Christmas is truly about. It’s not about the gifts under the tree, but about THE ULTIMATE GIFT that was wrapped in strips of cloth and laid in a dirty manger in a smelly stable over 2,000 years ago.

Joseph and Mary

Dan and Sarah as Joseph and Mary holding Baby Jesus

I pride myself on being a writer, always full of words to describe life as I see it unfold before me. There really are no words that could adequately describe “The Gift” and I will not even attempt to do so because I couldn’t possibly bring it the justice it deserves.  I have placed a link here for you to experience just a piece of last year’s production for yourself.  “The Gift” 2014 Abridged Version

My friends and family know just how much I love my church. Our relationship with God is a lifelong journey and I have grown so much as a Christian through the pastoring and fellowship of this church. I am grateful that God led me to where I am today and I eagerly anticipate where He is going to take me moving forward.

As “The Gift” came to a close tonight, my pastor spoke to the thousands of people in the bleachers about the ultimate gifts of forgiveness and salvation that God freely offers us, through His Son, Jesus Christ. I couldn’t help but smile, knowing that right there, among the animals, the hay bales and the manger, that people, for the very first time, gave their lives to Christ and were saved.

THAT, my friends, is what “The Gift” is all about.

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