DEVOTIONAL: Jesus’ Christmas gift: Chance for a new life
“In those days, Jesus came … ” (Mark 1:9)
By Rev. Tim Coker
Central Baptist Church, Darlington
It was a cold, blustery Christmas Eve. The wind was howling outside our bedroom windows. One glance outside told us how bad the conditions were – the snow-covered trees were bending in the strong wind – and we knew that the best place for us was in our warm rooms. The place? Somewhere up North. The time? Christmas Eve many years ago. The “us”? My younger sister and I. The what? We had been awakened in the night by a noise downstairs. We had just met each other at the top of the stairs when suddenly, we heard it again! It sounded like a bag opening. Then there was the sound of shuffling feet, as if someone were trying to walk around very quiet. Every once in a while, we heard a “bump.” We didn’t know what to do! We knew who was down there! It had to be Santa! So excited we could hardly contain ourselves … but so scared we could barely breathe … we discussed our options and then returned to bed. After about an hour (though it seemed like an eternity), we left our beds and once again met at the top of the stairs. It was “quiet down there,” and so we climbed down the stairs and into the den. We couldn’t believe our eyes! It seemed as if Santa had moved his toy factory into our den! The tree was surrounded by presents. The stockings were full. The cookies were gone! Santa had come! He had come! I have never forgotten that night. Many years have passed and many voices of skepticism have spoken. We have been told the “truth,” but deep within our hearts … way past the point of reason … Sherry and I still believe that Santa was there! The story, or should I say the facts of the story, have evolved through the years. I now know that Santa’s factory was not dropped into our den. As a matter of fact, we received very few toys. And the stockings were full … with tangerines, nuts and other fruits. But Santa had come! He had come! You know, we have learned through the years that there is so much more to Christmas than toys and stockings and gifts. We know that Christmas is about another “coming,” the coming of a Savior and King. But you’ll miss His “coming,” too, if you aren’t willing to believe. You must believe … deep within your heart … way past the point of reason … beyond the skeptics’ voices. Did you hear that? It’s Him! Are you listening? He is opening a bag … to give you a fresh start if you need it. He’s offering peace if you are in a storm. He’s handing out compassion if you have grown cold. He has come! He has come! As I sit at my desk this 2nd of December, I am thankful for the love and support of community. I am blessed to be a pastor in Darlington, and my family is blessed to be part of your lives. I hope your stockings will be full this Christmas season, and that your gifts will be nice. I also pray that God will bless you in 2022. Mostly, I hope you have remembered to believe! And to love! Gotta go! I hear a bump in the den! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!