"A Surprise Gift"
January 4, 2012
For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
This past Christmas season was an unusual one for the Salvation Army and its Red Kettle Campaign.
Yes, they had a few of their kettles stolen, but they also received some incredibly generous gifts. Did I hear you asking, "What kind of gifts?" Well, there was
• an anonymous giver in Bloomington, Illinois, who continued a 20-year tradition of giving a gold coin;
• the owner of a local coin exchange in Frederick, Maryland, who gave five, gold South African Krugerrands and then bought them back for $9,000;
• an anonymous donor in Spokane, Washington, who threw in a dollar bill -- a dollar bill wrapped around a $5,000 diamond ring.
They also received a $30 silver coin, which came wrapped inside a note. The note read, "I've saved this ounce of silver for twenty years, I'm unemployed for 13 months, my house is in foreclosure, I'm filing for bankruptcy, and at 61 my retirement is shot, but I still know there are families in worse shape."
Steve Schroeder, development director for The Salvation Army said, "It's a true Christmas spirit when you get the coins just because somebody cares enough to really make a sacrifice to donate."
As much as I'd like to agree with Schroeder, I think he's wrong, and Isaiah was right.
The true Christmas spirit is found in a Bethlehem manger. There we see a wonderfully unique Child, a Child who is both the Son of God and of humankind. By God's will, command and promise, Jesus was born to seek and save the lost, to redeem those under the Law, to lay down His life as a ransom for us all.
Jesus was born to change the world, our lives, our eternal destinies. He lived, died and rose to accomplish that purpose.
True, the centuries have seen many wondrous Christmas gifts given: the jeweled eggs of Faberge and the presents contained in the Neiman-Marcus catalog are all reflections of the Christmas spirit of giving. But none can compare with the fact that unto us a Child was born, unto us God's Son was given.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in my lifetime I may receive many great and thoughtful gifts. May each of them keep me mindful of Your Gift, the Gift of Your Son, who saves me. This I pray in my Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries