Christmas is not about giving, it’s about getting
A family reunion, a spangled Christmas tree, gifts of all sizes and a warm, satisfying family dinner were always what made my previous Christmases delightful. Sadly, I will miss Christmas with family this year. Christmas is always an occasion for reunion for the relatives, even more so for those living far away in the United States.
I wonder how Joseph and Mary celebrated Jesus’ birthday each year, since Christmas is the so-called occasion to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Did they also give gifts to him? Did they have family reunions the way Malaysian Christian households do? Mary would have been living out each day the astonishment of her encounter with the angel of God, witnessing Jesus’ growth from boyhood to manhood. Sometimes, I wonder if Joseph ever got over the fact that his wife bore her first child as a virgin. But Mary knew that the birth of Jesus was a gift that saves God’s people and humbles the rich and mighty. Her song captures the true spirit of Christmas:
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”
“Christmas is not about giving, it’s about getting.” This is the message that will be preached in Christ Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC) on Christmas Eve of 2012 at 7 P.M. in our new shop lot. Indeed, Christmas is not about how much we can give to God but rather, how much we do not give; it is about how much we do not deserve to receive anything from God but He graciously gave. Just as Mary understood that her blessedness came from the God who does great things, we should be reminded that our salvation comes from the One who is merciful to His own people.
This Christmas, I thank God for His sovereign work in me and through me. My decision to leave my medical studies was not an unwise one. Currently, God has blessed me with 4 campuses to preach the gospel to, 6 people to follow up on, a parachurch organization and a great church to serve in and wonderful church members who are serving the Gospel faithfully. Recently, at a youth camp called White Water Summer Camp (WWSC), 5 teenagers were converted by the work of the Spirit through the faithful preaching of the Word. Praise God!
I continue to pray for more financial support from CERC’s overseas supporters and anyone who can, and would, like to support our gospel ministry. I also pray for God to continue to sustain CERC’s Elder, Robin Gan as he continues to train and build up the church with faithful teaching and rebuking. Most of all, I pray that God will continue to use us to preach the faithful Gospel, bringing the message of repentance and faith to the people of Klang Valley. Thank you for supporting this gospel ministry. Ministry is always tough, but God is faithful, and we trust Him.
Although this Christmas, I am not able to be with my family, I thank God that they are in Christ and I pray for their continual perseverance in the Gospel. I am looking forward to seeing them during Chinese New Year, another big family reunion!
Posted on 22nd December 2011