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As the 2017 Christmas season began, I gave some additional thought toward this time of celebration.

I asked myself these questions: Does frantically running from store to store looking for the perfect gift – for that perfect someone, add or detract from the joy of Christmas? Do I really want to buy things I cannot afford or don’t really need? How would our families respond if we focused more on our time together than the gifts we receive? Do material things provide what families really want and need or is there a better way to celebrate the Christmas season?

After talking to myself and answering a few of those questions, I’ve decided to conspire with others and find a way to celebrate the Advent of Christ without yielding to the spirit of consumerism, which is very much alive in our culture.

I’m not implying we should spend nothing! It’s not about being stingy, miserly or acting like a scrooge. Share nothing, have nothing or give nothing. NO! It’s all about giving gifts but giving gifts that mean something and make a real difference in a person’s life.

Spend less and give more – That’s my mantra this year! Sounds impossible unless you realize that the greatest gifts we can give people cost nothing at all in a monetary sense.

Three of the greatest gifts came to us through the birth of Jesus Christ and you can give these three gifts to others. He came to reveal the Father’s love. He came to give us joy and He came to offer forgiveness and freedom from our past.

A Doctor by the name of Luke makes mention of these three gifts by recording the announcement of Christ’s birth in the Bible. He says in Luke 2:10 -11, “the angel of the Lord said to them, ‘…behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’”

Did you notice that Jesus came for everyone and not just a few? The very fact that God decided to live among us reveals His great love for us and when you add joy and forgiveness to the equation you have three pretty awesome gifts. That’s not only good news, that’s great news!

The spirit of consumerism can blind us from seeing the real message of Christmas. If we miss out on what’s truly important – the Christmas season can be a burden to endure rather than a blessing to be experienced.

Maybe we should consider returning to the true meaning of Christmas if we’ve missed it. A decision to celebrate God’s presence rather than focusing on getting presents might be the best thing you could do.

Give more of yourself by serving rather than spending. You will have more money in your pockets and more life in your heart at the end of the season. You will honor God by exalting His son Jesus Christ and that’s extremely important since it’s His birthday celebration. He is the reason we say: Merry Christmas!

Many gifts can be purchased for people this Christmas but love, joy, and forgiveness are among the best – and they won’t cost you one monetary cent!

Pastor Tim Howard is the lead pastor at Koinonia Church. Any comments can be sent to: tim@kcfchurch.org.

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