‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him. … Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.’ Matthew 2:2,11b
Do you still remember what your favorite Christmas gift was as a child? I can easily remember mine. It was 1961 and I woke up on a snowy morning to find the gift of my dreams - a desk and chalkboard sitting next to our lit up Christmas tree.
That desk and chalkboard were the things I needed so that I could practice being a teacher, while forcing my little brother Mitch to play school as my student. (No wonder that he never really liked school growing up!)
The plot of the 1983 movie ‘A Christmas Story’ also surrounds a little boy’s obsession to have the gift of his dreams - a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model BB gun.
This Christmas classic weaves the story with Ralphie ultimately getting his BB gun and him lying in bed on Christmas night with his gun by his side. The final voiceover by an adult Ralphie states that this was the best present he had ever received or would ever receive.
Gifts are a part of the Christmas tradition that originates from a group of distinguished foreigners who visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They are regular figures in traditional accounts of the nativity celebrations of Christmas and an important part of the Christian tradition.
According to Matthew, the only one of the four gospels to mention the Magi, they came ‘from the east’ to worship the ‘king of the Jews’. Although the account does not mention the number of people ‘they’ or ‘the Magi’ refers to, the three gifts has led to the widespread assumption that there were three men.
So is it really better to give than receive? That phrase is thrown around quite a bit and yet in our over commercialized material world the sentiment of that idea often gets lost each Christmas season. This is part that of the reason that we created 24 Days of Disrupt - to help families and individuals better prepare their hearts for Christ’s arrival, which is the true purpose of Advent.
A world changed. You could even say that it was Disrupted. The course of humanity would never be the same because of one tiny baby born to humble new beginnings. We all know this story, but do we really live our Christmas season as if it will change the world? This year, we are challenging you to do just that.
In a few weeks you will be receiving our 2014 Advent Devotional Guide either in the mail or have access to it online. The 24 Days of Disrupt will be daily challenges that will stretch you in new ways and help you see others through the eyes of Jesus. At the end of the 24 Days we believe your heart will be transformed and you will go into the New Year with a renewed missional mindset.
As you work toward this new mindset the economy of your life will be Disrupted. The advent calendar also raises funds to support families in need as we will be asking you to give a portion of your Christmas budget to specific areas of the ministry. It will be a reminder that this season is not meant to be about spending and buying extravagant unnecessary gifts, but about the celebration and worship of Jesus.
The spirit of the Magi that went to worship baby Jesus and shower him with gifts should be the same spirit that we have when we celebrate Christmas each year. We can be the Magi to families living in poverty that live each day just trying to make sure their children are fed, clothed, and sheltered. By applying the lessons we will learn through the 24 Days of Disrupt, we can give the basics of life to families where Christmas gift-giving is not a reality.
Scott and I personally are asking you to join us in the 24 Days of Disrupt. This Christmas can truly be about the difference you make in the life of another family and how it will make a difference in our own!
Make Amor a part of your Christmas giving this season – as God gave His son so that the world could truly have the best gift ever, we are also called to sacrifice so others may know his love - and your sacrifice could be part of a family in need receiving their true best gift ever.
‘the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him.’ (Matthew 2:9b-11a)