28th November 2003
Dr. Goh Chee Leong
Is Christmas still special to you?
What makes Christmas special?
Giving is the culture people all around the world hold during Christmas. Giving is not something alien to Christmas. Many people give during Christmas – Christians and non-Christians.
Giving is very Christian. Why? It is not just a ritual but part of our faith.
Back-track – The Christmas Story
The incident of Mary getting pregnant was a very big deal. Imagine you telling everyone else you’re pregnant with God’s child, especially during those days, no one would believe you. Joseph chose not to marry Mary to safe-guard his image. At this beginning of the story, they gave of their social status, the respect they received from the community and their reputation. They bore the burden.
Talking then about the wise men, they gave by journey-ing to the place in faith. Mind you, journey-ing somewhere you don’t know and not by plane or train is not pleasurable. They gave of their time and effort to find the Messiah.
The shepherds were told the good news. God gave them the privilege of knowing. They were the ordinary. Angels appeared before the ordinary and not the royalty.
The central Theme of Christmas
The birth of Jesus Christ. God gave His only begotten Son. This is one thing parents appreciate best. As a parent, you want the best for your child. Here, it was not just the giving of Jesus to the world but knowing that He will grow to be suffer, tortured and die on the cross. Ponder upon what it means to give away someone you love and knowing you’re helpless to help them or to take away the pain, to subject your child – your only child to go through pain and suffering.
Chee Leong: If it was me, sent to die to save the world it would be different but sending lets say my daughter would be a no. Even to save the world, so sorry, I won’t.
Therefore, what is giving?
It is meeting the needs of others.
It is about others feeling better and not about me meeting my own personal emotional comfort. (oh, I feel bad if I don’t give / I gave, oh wow, I feel good)
Giving is also not to promote yourself – it is not an act of selfishness (I bought the best gift for him/her)
It involves a cost, a sacrifice. (Time, energy, money, effort, emotional strength)
True giving hurts.
The birth of Jesus Christ was giving in the purest form. God didn’t send His Son to feel good about Himself. He was giving you what you needed and what you wanted – salvation and freedom.
The challenge, guaranteed to make every Christmas special and to make every day Christmas Day.
- Give from within
- Sacrifice and not give because it’s convenient.
Make a gift, give away one of your precious cd collections at home which you listen to the most, spend time with someone close, treat a friend or family member to a meal.