Every year I hear someone ask,
“Why do we give each other gifts at Christmas when it is Jesus’ birthday?”
Of course we understand it is not really Jesus’ birthday. As Christians, we are just celebrating the life of Jesus, and taking advantage of the opportunity to share the Savior with the world, like we do every day when given the opportunity.
Still, why do we give gifts to each other when it is not our birthday either? I believe a very simple verse answers this simple question. When Jesus was talking about the sheep being separated from the goats, He said,
“‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” Matthew 25:40 NLT
We all represent Jesus to each other. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:20, NLT
So we are Christ’s ambassadors,
When a nation gives a gift to an ambassador of another country they are really giving that gift to the country that the ambassador represents. Likewise, the way we treat each other represents the way that we are treating Jesus. That is why John wrote in 1 John 4:7-8,
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
I will never forget a true story my grandmother shared with me one cold Christmas season. She was outside her house, looking up a small hill, when she saw a little neighbor girl walking down the hill with her doll towards her house. It was freezing and starting to sleet, when the little girl stopped, took off her coat and wrapped the coat around her doll! The little girl then shivered the rest of the way towards her house, holding her doll close to her heart to keep her warm.
My grandmother, and the rest of us were perplexed at the rationale of the girl. It was only a doll and could not feel anything. Maybe the little girl did not know the difference between pretend and reality. Even though it was apparently a foolish deed, I am sure Jesus perceived what was in the little girl’s heart, and the way Jesus looked at it, He was the little doll the girl was taking off her own coat for to keep warm!
Of course I realize it was just a doll, but how much more it must warm the heart of Jesus when He sees us doing kind loving deeds for each other out of love all year long!
As Jesus says,
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 NLT