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Giving Should be a Given in Light of God’s Gift

Giving is a highlight of the Christmas season. The concept of giving is no better epitomized than in our Heavenly Father’s gift of his Son who died a sacrificial death on the Cross and it would seem to me that giving would be a natural outgrowth of a celebration of Jesus’ birth.
Christians believe the gift of Jesus Christ and His willingness to be a propitiation for our sins is the ultimate gift. I John 2:2 in the Bible says: “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”
December 25th is set aside to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Messiah. Good will, concern for others and cheerfulness are only three concepts that come to my mind as I contemplate this Christmas. It’ll be only six days from my writing this column that another Christmas will come to pass. Christmas time seems to me to be a time that folks are more cheerful than at any other time of the year.
While Christmas is truly a religious holiday, it is a national holiday as well. Certain practices and traditions have been added to the atmosphere of the time that also demonstrated good will and giving. One of the most endearing traditions, I suppose, is the appearance of the rotund man with the white whiskers in the red suit that children look forward to each year. His practice of giving gifts to good little boys and girls is so established that it wouldn’t seem like Christmas without it. Along with Christmas trees, decorative lights and brightly wrapped packages, Santa is a part of the Christmas holiday.
The evolution of Santa began in America with the Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam (New York). The Dutch called him Sinterklaas. An alteration of that name became Saint Nicholas, which ultimately became Santa Claus.
A poem titled “A Visit From Saint Nicholas”, written by Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863) included many descriptive attributes of that “Jolly Old Elf” and some of his activities on Christmas Eve. How Santa appears to us today was largely brought about by a painting by the German-born artist Thomas Mast. Mast (1840-1902) is the first to depict Santa Claus in a red suit with the white fur trim. Mast’s version of Santa showed him to be larger than the elf concept of an earlier time.
The Christmas tree is another mainstay during the Christmas season. The traditional Christmas tree has been a part of the Christmas celebration in America for many years. Gifts lying under the tree further characterizes Christmas as a time of giving and good will.
But there is no better depiction of the spirit of Christmas than the Christ Child in that manger in Bethlehem some 2,000 years ago. Christ is the ultimate gift.