Advent 2021

A Gift For A Neighbour

Beth Burras,

Even though over 2000 years has passed since the word became flesh, it is still true today that Jesus is with us in our neighbourhoods. What is God saying to us about our own blocks, streets and estates this Christmas?

Have you ever received a gift that was just perfect for you, that celebrated part of who you were, and the things that you loved? My friends know that I love Christmas so much, that they often give me Christmas-themed gifts for my birthday, which is in September! I really enjoy buying/making presents for people which really suit them and which I hope will bless them and communicate my love for them.

After his birth those who visited Jesus, their new neighbour’s brought him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These were unusual choices for a young child, but were significant in different ways; they represented and affirmed Jesus; royalty, divinity and humanity. If you give gifts to your neighbours, friends and relatives at Christmas, could you give things which affirm part of who they are, and which speak to the good God-given things you see in them? If you don’t give gifts, you could do the same thing by telling those around you what you like about them, thanking them for who they are to you. This could be in conversation with them, or even written in a Christmas card and put through their door.

The popular Christmas song ‘Little Drummer Boy‘ imagines a young poor boy who doesn’t think he has a gift fit to honour a King, so instead offers to play his drum for him. I wonder, what would gift would you bring if you were visiting the new-born King?

As Christians, we believe that the greatest gift we have been given is the gift of salvation in Christ. Do you remember when you received this gift, or can you recall someone else receiving him, and the joy that abounded in that moment? Imagine if the next few weeks marked a step forward in the journey of faith for one of your neighbours or friends. I pray that God will show you where there are opportunities for those around you to respond to the good news of the Gospel, and to receive the greatest gift there is.

As Jesus came to be present with us, how can we take the opportunity this Christmas to be present with our neighbours, and offer them a present which will love them, lift them and help them to see that Jesus has moved into their neighbourhood?

Bible Verse: 1 John 1:14 (MSG)

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