“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:37 & 38 NIV
I have a real Christmas disability that I need to confess – so I included verse 37 above to ask you not to judge me.
Here it is – I have to do most of my Christmas gift shopping at the last minute, because if I have the gifts in my possession, I am very likely to give them to people in advance. I can’t wait until Christmas morning. Minutes after I purchase the gift or before the FedEx truck is out of sight, I am handing over the gift with no restraint. I have suffered from this malady all of my life. I hope that you can hear this weakness and still accept me as a friend and pastor. “Hi, my name is Bill, and I am an early gifter.”
If you have attended the Baldwinsville First UMC in the last 2 ½ years, or if you are listening to our services on line you have probably heard me share this quote; “Humans are not rational beings, they are beings that rationalize.” With this truth in mind, I pondered this predisposition of mine to give gifts prematurely. The only rationale that offered any comfort is that giving, and giving extravagantly, is the model that I see in our God.
The first scripture that most Christians learn is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Interesting, isn’t it, that this Christmas celebration is built all around this extravagant nature of God and God’s love of giving. Take a moment to think about that and the feeling that you get when you give a good gift. It is a Godly, holy part of our design!
This Christmas will be a little different for us. We will spread out our Christmas celebration over several days to help social distance and keep our church family as safe as possible. But we will still pause to remember the greatest and first Christmas gift of all – God sent Jesus to redeem a fallen and lost world. Praise God.
I hope this Christmas season that you will also consider making a gift to our Baldwinsville First United Methodist Church. There are options for electronic giving, and the postal service still delivers mail almost every day to 17 West Genesee Street, Baldwinsville NY 13027. The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on our financial health, and this will be a great chance to help us finish 2020 strong. Thank-you in advance for your faithfulness!
Come and join us for church Sunday morning at 9AM for our Heritage worship service in the sanctuary, or at 11AM for our new Contemporary service featuring Nairobi Smith leading worship in the chapel. We’ll save you a socially distanced seat. (the 9AM and 11AM services will be live streamed and available on Facebook and YouTube) Serving Christ with You, Pastor Bill Mudge