Posted by Peggy Utley

Christmas is associated with gifts. Gifts come in all sizes and shapes and range from inexpensive to very expensive. The giving of gifts can emotionally involve everything from a “spur of the moment, just buy anything” attitude to a carefully thought out expensive and expressive gift of love.  Gifts can be wrapped, placed in beautiful bags with fancy wrapping paper, a decorative box or plainly covered with newspaper. Gifts can also be given with no wrap at all. There is an old saying that “the gift without the giver is bare” The giver of the gift and the thought behind it is as important as the gift itself.

God is the great giver and He has given us the greatest gift, His son Jesus Christ. His gift was wrapped in love and swaddling clothes. Swaddling clothes described in the Bible consisted of a cloth tied together by bandage-like strips. The intent of the practice was to keep the baby warm and also to ensure that the child’s limbs would grow straight. Swaddling clothes were a symbol of tender care. Ezekiel 16:4 describes Israel as unswaddled, a metaphor for abandonment.

We know the extent of God’s love to us through Jesus Christ . For “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

There are other gifts that God gives us such a mercy, grace, forgiveness, the Holy Spirit, etc. I would also include in that list God’s answers to our prayers. Answered prayers are indeed a gift from God. In this respect, Crabtree Valley Baptist Church has been gifted in recent days with the call of April Brown as our Music Director and the call of Andrew McCullagh as Youth Director. April has already begun her ministry with us and Andrew will begin his work just after the New Year.

We can show our appreciation to God by supporting both of these new leaders. Invite them out to eat and into your homes. Pray for their work with our choir and with our youth. Give them words of encouragement and offer your assistance in any way that would enhance their ministry. Consider joining the choir or encouraging youth you know to participate in the Bible Studies and activities that are provided. Give financially through the budget of the church so that these ministries and many others can be adequately supported.

As God answers our prayers, our response of gratitude to Him comes through our faithfulness in all aspects of our lives. Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. Let us do the same.

In His love, Charles