When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
– Matthew 2:10-11
Just when reports of South Americans amassing at our southern borders began to diminish, there have been new reports of Middle Eastern immigrants amassing at Poland’s border. The stories continue to break my heart: hypothermia, starvation, persecution, violence. Our world seems to be in constant turmoil!
The organization Voice of the Martyrs has been a strong advocate for Christians all over the world who are persecuted for following Jesus. Their magazine has done many feature articles over the years about passionate Christians who live in oppressive, life-threatening cultures around the world, yet do not give up or hold back on sharing God’s Word. They read like a modern-day Jeremiah, who also suffered but never gave up or held back, even when his mind and body were weary. Ling, a Christian who spent three years in a Chinese labor camp, wanted nothing more than to share what God taught her there. Purnima, a young teen imprisoned in Nepal, scraped together her meager daily stipend for food and served a luxurious Christmas dinner (by prison standards, anyway) to her fellow prisoners in the dank bowels of their prison. A young convert to Christianity traveled through Egypt for the Gospel, his body badly scarred from the violent beatings by local authorities. These Christians passionately continued to give themselves away every day, literally risking their lives for the sake of Christ.
Their stories are moving. We do not need to risk much at all for Christ in this country! I will never forget the end of one of those stories because it made me hang my head. In fact, I wrote it down so I would not forget. The author wrote, “This Christmastime, as we remember the sacrificial gift of Jesus, whom God placed at our feet, let us also realize that our persecuted family, indeed ourselves, are given to Christ. We are to be the gold, frankincense and myrrh lying at His feet.”*
As Jesus is given to us, so are we to be gifts to Jesus. What are we doing with our lives? Have we truly put ourselves at the feet of Jesus?
For God so loved the world that God gave Himself. And so should we. That’s the whole point of Christmas. May we so love that we, too, give ourselves away to the least, the lost, and the lonely, for the sake of Christ.
Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!
Yours for the Journey,
*VOM, December 2003