Did you already finish your Christmas shopping? I believe women are very good at shopping. I know that because 3,4 women in our house and they all are great shoppers. But I am terrible at shopping. Cooking and shopping are the major headache for me. Every Christmas season I suffer for the shopping. I needed to study how to do shopping through internet. I learned these... not to buy gifts for women:
Do not buy anything require sizes; dress, skirt, pants, blouse...or any clothes and shoes. They never fit. She would say, “You think I wear size 11?” or “Size 5 is my size but 20 years ago.” So be careful, all men. Do not buy diet related products or exercising tools – they simply mean “you are overweight, lose your weight.” Watch out! Jewelries are too expensive. Flowers do not last, and do not make good Christmas gifts. Do not buy any kitchen equipment - suggesting her do more cooking, or you yourself have to do it for her. I say, “No thanks”. The list goes on and on. Too many gifts you should not buy... giving me more confusion. I don't remember Etsuko ever wore any cloth I bought for her. I think she returns or exchanges it the next day. Remember a few men like me can not shop well.
Someone said what the first Christmas might have been like if wise women had come from the east instead of wise men. They would have asked for directions, made it to Bethlehem on time, helped with the delivery, cleaned up the stable, made a decent meal, and brought some practical gifts like diaper, bibs, baby pajama, and blanket... and also had a baby shower. A lot different! Those wise men gave Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh. Giving of Christmas gifts started at this moment.
How do you enjoy Christmas 10 times this year? Let’s think about this way.
1. Seek the Real Thing:
Someone bought a good-bargain diamond ring, but later found out that was an imitation. Fake and forgery do not have a true value. Good jewelers can tell if the diamond is real or fake, just by putting it on his hand. No microscope needed. Real diamond with a true value has its perfect feel and weight that jewelers would know.
Wise men came searching for the real King, not Herod. "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?... And we have come to worship him.” Herod was not born king of Jews. He bribed Rome and killed many people, and deprived the position of the king. Wise men looked for the real King, that is Jesus Christ. To worship Christ is the best way to spend Christmas. Christ-mas means Christ Mass = Christ worship. Have you found the real thing in this Christmas? Jesus is true God and true Savior who came to this world on Christmas day, 2016 (+some) years ago. Jesus is your life’s real Savior and deliverer. If you have not yet found Him as your Savior, I strongly encourage you to seek Him now.
How do you find the real thing? Through the Bible, God's Word. His Word is true for thousands of years, and it has never changed. Bible is true because it is written by God Himself using 40 inspired men. So, read Bible, study Bible, search God's truth in the Bible. Finding truth in the Bible is a great joy. Men and women in the Bible study class have already discovered the joy. You can discover and enjoy a lot, too. 100 times more joyous than searching through the “Pokemon Go”.
2. Give the Best Thing:
 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
A The wise men came to the house (house, not a stable) and saw Jesus with his mother Mary. The reason of their visit are:
1. They came to worship the child. “They bowed down and worshiped him.”(v11) A part of their worship including giving.
2. “Then they opened their treasures and presented him” (v11) with 3 very valuable gifts:
Gold - a gift for a king. The most valuable metal offering to kings in the old time. Jesus was and is the King!
Frankincense – (not Frankenstein) a gift for a priest. Used it in ceremonies....a priest burned the incense as an offering to God. Through this, priest connected people to God. Jesus is a priest who brings us, and connects us to God.
Myrrh - a gift for the dead. Fragrant ointment that was used to anoint a body before burial. John 19:39-40 stated that Jesus’ own body was anointed with Myrrh. Jesus had come to die for our sins and for the whole world! Therefore, Myrrh was appropriate.
These 3 gifts were very appropriate for presenting to Christ. I wonder how these wise men knew about all these theological insights.
We also need to give an appropriate gift this Christmas. I am not talking about material gifts, but more important gifts... they are:
a Showing love and kindness to your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, to help others who are hurting, suffering, being lonely.
b Giving these kinds of gifts result in a joyous and meaningful Christmas!!! No Disappointments!!!! To love and to be loved... then both parties become happy. Praise String go to Christmas Caroling today and also next Sunday. Every time we praise with the ukulele and singing, we are really blessed. And people listening say they are blessed, too... everyone is blessed. So the performance gives us a great joy. 10 times joy. Please join our caroling today. You don't need to play the ukulele, just sing together with us. I bet you will rejoice a lot.
3. Trust in Jesus that He is with you always.
As you know Christmas is Jesus's birthday... we celebrate His birth. A song “Happy Birthday, Jesus...” However, in Japan not so many people know about it. When I was still a business man in Japan, my colleagues asked. “Is Christmas something to do with Christian religion?” The other guy replied with pride, “Of course, it is about death of Christ.” Ah... well...death of Christ is important but first he has to be born.
We celebrate His birthday every year. We trust in Jesus then all are given to us. He is the source of all our needs. We trust in Jesus that He is with us always. Christmas reminds us Jesus came to live with us. “Word became man and lived within us.” John 1:14 if you know this, your joy in Christmas is greatly improved. You feel great if someone loves you, and cares for you. That someone is Jesus. Jesus is loving you always. Jesus is watching you always. Jesus is keeping you safe always. Jesus is caring about you always. Christmas is all about Jesus. Christmas is Immanuel – meaning God is with us... Jesus is with you. Remember, “His name is called Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14) Jesus is always with you, loving and caring and protecting you. So you are in peace and so that you can enjoy Christmas 10 times more.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
There is a heart warming story.
In 1994, two Christian missionaries answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics in a large orphanage. About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. It was nearing Christmas and they decided to tell them the story of Christmas. It would be the first time these children had heard the story of the birth of Christ. They told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger. Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word.
When the story was finished, they gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins that they had brought with them since no colored paper was available in the city.
Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady was throwing away as she left Russia, were used for the baby’s blanket. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt which the missionaries had also brought with them.
It was all going smoothly until one of the missionaries sat down at a table to help a 6 year old boy named Misha. He had finished his manger. When the missionary looked at the little boy’s manger, she was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, she called for the translator to ask Misha why there were two babies in the manger.
Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, Misha began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger.
Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending. He said, "And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mama and I have no papa, so I don’t have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn’t, because I didn’t have a gift to give him like everybody else did.
But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift. So I asked Jesus, "If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift" And Jesus told me, "If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me." "So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me I could stay with him-for always."
As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him-FOR ALWAYS. Did you also find the real Jesus?
How to enjoy this Christmas 10 times better than usual:
Seek the real thing, give the best thing, and trust in Jesus so that you know He is with you always.