In the final hours with His disciples, Jesus sets a powerful example to serve one another by washing their feet and gives them a new commandment to focus on love.
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35.
The book of Acts records that the early church took this teaching to heart. Believers met together in their homes to break bread, teach and worship, and they also sold their possessions and shared freely with those in need (Acts 2:45 and Acts 4:35)
The body of believers is meant to be a community, united in love, that openly blesses one another when a need arises and simply just because it can.
As we enter the Christmas season in Park Regency, it's important to remember the act of giving first started with God and that our own gifts are a way to honor Him and to extend His love to others.
The Bible states that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7) and that Jesus taught it is better to give then receive (Acts 20:35). These teachings aren't meant to burden us with the pressure to give during the holiday or any other time but rather to encourage us that, when we are focused on Him and filled with His love, giving comes naturally. The joy we experience in knowing how much God treasures each one of us makes us want others to know the happiness this truth brings.
Being able to receive a gift with gratitude is a sign of a healthy, humble spirit, which is also pleasing to God. Both pride and low self-esteem prevent us from participating in the body of Christ and being able to see ourselves as God does: one of His children and an equal heir of His kingdom.
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3-4
Thoughts of Christmas often bring to mind the bright faces of children gathered around the tree as they unwrap festive packages and discover the surprises held within. Their delight is shared by all, and the act of giving and receiving brings the whole family a united sense of joy.
This mental picture is a good illustration of the reason why God gave us the first Christmas present, Jesus, and helps us to see the deep desire God has for us to become His family through Christ, sharing fellowship and faith together as we call the lost home.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou has sent me, and hast loved them, as thou has loved me. John 17:21-23 (KJV)