Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas is a Rice Cooker

Christmas means different things to different people. Christmas has meant different things to me at different points in my life.

  • a special visit from my grandparents on the night before Christmas
  • a vacation from the demands of my school classroom
  • a time to find out if I got what I put on my Christmas list
  • a deadline for buying, wrapping and delivering a lot of gifts

It wasn't until I was grown and married that I came to understand the biblical message of Christmas - that the Son of God left His throne in glory to become the promised Messiah, Jesus the Christ, the spotless sacrifice and only possible atonement for the sins of the world and me in particular. 

Yesterday when we opened the Amazon box that arrived on the doorstep I was overwhelmed all over again at God's plan to glorify Himself, especially during this time of remembering Messiah's first appearing. 

We found a super-dee-duper electronic rice cooker inside the box. We wondered who would send us a rice cooker as we hunted for the paperwork. It's an answer that spans nearly 30 years.

A student God sent to us, a young pastoral family in a small church, in the 1980s hailed from Malaysia. No need to tell you that he ate a lot of rice. When it was time for him to return home he offered us the rice cooker he'd brought with him and used throughout his college career. We received his gift as a reminder of the precious friendship God had built between us.

As a young pastor's wife I welcomed the thoughtful present for more than just the memories. I never seemed to be able to time my rice with the rest of the meal. Thankfully for more than 25 years that thoughtful memento has done its job. Whenever rice was part of the menu it went to our table properly cooked at just the right moment. 

This dear Brother has become a well-known musician and successful business man. This Christmas he's away from his family because he's on a job in China. Yet in the midst of work and missing his loved ones, evidently he decided that it was time for our rice cooking process to be upgraded. 

[[Thank you, Mac. We are indeed very blessed by your kindness.]]

Yes, Christmas is a time to celebrate the arrival of the Light into this dark world. The Son came to ransom His people from the divine consequences of sin, the wrath of the Father. There's more to tell. The Messiah also came to serve.

... just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.  Matthew 20:28  NIV'84

And God's Holy Word tells us we are to follow Christ's example of obedient service whether the Spirit calls us to reach across the street or around the globe. As we served God by caring for Mac so long ago, Mac is serving God by caring for us.

May the ongoing message of the Nativity be alive in you from salvation to service. Amen

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
     did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
     taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
     and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!
Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place
     and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
     in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
     to the glory of God the Father.     Philippians 2:5-11  NIV'84

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