Grace and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. I have been overwhelmed with generous gifts to bring to our sisters and brothers in Haiti. The suitcase I placed at church just a few weeks ago has overflowed onto the floor beneath. Huge suitcases packed to the brim with supplies were brought by our sister church in Merrimac, Holy Redeemer. At my Christmas band concert Sunday I was offered another suitcase packed with supplies from our sister church in Salisbury, East Parish UMC.
I’ve also received extra financial gifts for the baggage fees. I even received a donation from a local dentist I’ve never met. And our own youth group created a beautiful banner with a blessing in Creole to bring down as a gift to the children at Mission of Hope International School.
Many of these gifts have been sacrificial, meaning it wasn’t easy to make the donation. Christmastime can put a lot of extra financial (and many other kinds too) stress on us with the expectations of giving. What is so beautiful to me about all of the Haiti donations is there was no expectation, no pressure. Through the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, you and others have felt compelled and inspired to give. Though the gifts may have been given sacrificially, they were given joyfully.
Ultimately this is what Christmas is all about. God was compelled to give. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him might have eternal life.” – John 3:16 The gift God offered to us by His Son gave new meaning to the word “sacrificial.” God didn’t give out of expectation or duty. Nor was the gift easy to give. But by his perfect love, he gave of himself, to offer us his love. I can’t imagine the joy that filled heaven when God’s Son was born of Mary, God’s greatest gift to all of creation.