Can you imagine being given a Christmas gift and not opening it for 20 years? Well, that’s exactly what I did. Year after year I unwrapped all of my other gifts and enjoyed them for a few minutes or a few months before I lost interest or outgrew or wore out each one. I don’t know why I never got around to opening that one gift. When I was small, my other gifts all looked more fun, I suppose, and as I grew older, I thought I knew what was inside and wasn’t interested. Most years I didn’t even notice it.
Most people have a few things that make Christmas special to them. Here are a few of mine.
The spirit of giving
I love the spirit of giving that permeates Christmas. It’s often a time when even the least generous become more giving. It’s a time when children can learn the joy of giving as they share what they have. It’s also a time when everyone can give something, whether they have a little or a lot, and find reward in doing so.
It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you. Yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand.
—Mother Teresa (1910–1997)
It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.
—Charles Dickens (1812–1870)
What can you give Me this Christmas? A thankful heart is one gift I love to receive anytime. You make Me happy when you are appreciative of My blessings, great and small, because I love to see you happy. I love to see you smile, and that makes Me smile in return. I love to see you laugh, and I love to laugh with you. Each smile or laugh tells Me that you love and appreciate Me.
For many of us, since we were young children, Christmas has been a special time of celebrating Jesus’ birth, giving and receiving gifts, and spending time with family and friends. But Christmas is not only a time to enjoy these blessings ourselves; it is also the greatest opportunity of the year to tell the world about our precious Savior. Perhaps more than any other day of the year, it’s a time when people think about the miracle that is at the heart of Christmas—God sending His own dear Son into our world to lead us back to Him. Even in non-Christian cultures, people are interested in learning the true meaning of Christmas.
Jesus temporarily renounced the rights of His citizenship in heaven and became a citizen of this world. Though He was rich, for our sakes He became poor that we through His poverty might become rich. He not only adapted Himself to our bodily form, but also conformed to the human ways of life, customs, language, dress, and living, that He might understand and love us better and communicate with us on the lowly level of our own human understanding. He did it that He might reach us with His love, prove to us His compassion and concern, and help us understand His message in simple, childlike terms that we could grasp.
—David Brandt Berg
An angel appears to the priest Zacharias and tells him that his wife, Elizabeth, will have a baby boy, even though she is long past childbearing age, and that they are to name the baby John. The angel also explains that the baby has been sent by God to prepare the way for the Messiah. The baby grows up to become John the Baptist. (Luke 1:5–25)