Jesus’ birthday is coming up again. What are you going to get him?
After all, Christmas is his birthday party, isn’t it? Don’t we always give gifts to celebrate a person’s birthday? Why should Jesus’ birth be any different?
Isn’t his the most important birthday ever? A miraculous, immaculate, history-changing birth? Doesn’t that warrant a trip to Hallmark, at least?
So why don’t we give Jesus gifts for his birthday?
“Uhmmm… because it’s weird,” you say. “Because we can’t see him. Because he’s not physically here to open it. And what in the world would we get him anyway? The universe is his PlayStation! What can you possibly get for the God who has everything?”
Actually, there are a lot of gift possibilities that Jesus would probably be delighted to get for his birthday.
Here are a few ideas:
1) Something you buy.
There are plenty of gifts you could give for free, but you’ll find in many of those cases, they’re even more costly than something you could purchase. So, if you’re new to the idea of giving a gift for Jesus’ birthday, this is a very simple place to start.
You could make a donation to charity, buy a gift card for a family in need, or give a little extra in your next tithe at church.
There are many ways you can use your finances to honor Jesus this Christmas, but if you simply don’t have the means, there are plenty of other gifts you can give free of charge.
2) Something you make.
God made us creative beings in His image. What if you used the gifts He’s given you to give something back? You could compose a song, write a poem, or design a piece of art for Him. What a wonderfully intimate and personal way to express your love for Jesus.
This is also something the kids can do. They love to color pictures for Jesus, and it’s a great way to remind them of what it is we’re all celebrating.
3) Something you do.
If you can’t buy or make something, sometimes it’s even more valuable to give of your time. There are plenty of charitable organizations that would be thrilled to have an extra hand, and churches are always in need of volunteers.
But if time is an even scarcer resource than money, there are other gift options that don’t require either.
4) A bad habit or addiction.
What if you let go of a habit that you know is unhealthy or sinful? What if you gave up drinking, drugs, or smoking? What if you said good-bye to a pornography addiction? I’m sure Jesus would be very pleased by those gifts, and more than happy to take them off your hands.
5) Your worries and fears.
One of the best presents Jesus could get from you is your trust. What if you laid all your worries and fears at his feet, and let him know that you trust him completely in all of your circumstances?
6) Your bitterness and resentment.
This one can be particularly challenging, but it’s a gift that blesses the giver as well. What if you gave Jesus a grudge you’ve been holding against someone who hurt you? What if you let go of all that bitterness and unforgiveness, and made a decision to forgive and move forward in peace? I think Jesus would be very touched by a gift like that.
7) Your obedience.
What if you made a change in an area in your life that you know is out of alignment with scripture? Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) What better way to show him your love than by demonstrating your obedience to his commands.
8) Your discipleship.
What if you made it a priority to spend more time in prayer and Bible study? Committed discipleship is the best way to grow in your relationship with Christ, and learn to be more like him.
9) Your negativity.
What if you made a commitment to stop grumbling and complaining so much, and take those negative thoughts captive? What if you printed out scriptures of hope and encouragement and started speaking words of patience, contentment, gratitude and trust over your circumstances? This would be as much a gift to yourself as to Christ.
10) An act of sacrifice.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Sacrifice is the highest expression of love and proof that it is sincere. What if you performed an act of sacrifice to show your sincere adoration for Jesus?
What if you sold a luxury item, and donated the proceeds?
What if you gave up a recreational activity and devoted that time to God?
Ooo! Here’s a good one! What if you called up someone who owes you money, and told them you’re wiping the debt clean? Can you imagine what it would be like if someone did that for you? Imagine the impact it would have on an unbeliever? Your sacrifice might even lead to their salvation!
So, while it may seem a little strange, maybe it’s time we started a new tradition. We could all use a reminder of what it is we’re celebrating in the first place. A birthday. God’s birthday. A silent, holy night when God broke through the darkness to conquer death, overcome evil, and redeem mankind.
That’s a birthday worth celebrating.