Saturday, December 13, 2014

Redeeming the Christmas Stocking

"You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away.  Then God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave all our sins.  He cancelled the record that contained the charges against us.  He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross."  Colossians 2:13-14

“What does Christmas mean to you?” I asked Habiba.  She exclaimed how much she loves the holiday season because of all the lights and decorations, etc. “Do you know the meaning of Christmas?” I pressed. “No,” she replied. “I just love everything because it is a happy beautiful time.” I don’t always start right away with telling the Biblical story of Christmas but talk about the decorations and why we have come to use them nowadays.  It is fun using Christmas traditions or legends for redemptive purposes with my Muslim friends.  You can read in Woman to Woman, Sharing Jesus with a Muslim Friend, how, in the Christmas season, I frequently use the legend of the white, red and green striped candy cane.

This year I am using the tradition of hanging Christmas stockings. There are different legends which have come down to us but I like the one when Saint Nicholas went to a function where a servant girl took his coat to hang up and they got into a conversation. She was sad because she had to work so hard to help pay off her father’s debts. One day out of compassion for the servant girl and her father, Saint Nicholas decided to visit their home. Her washed stockings were hung at the fireplace to dry.  He quietly dropped some gold coins in them to pay off their debts. Discovering the coins in the stockings the next morning the servant girl was overjoyed because now their outstanding debts were paid for and she would be free to get married and start a family and enjoy her very own Christmas.

No one likes to have a debt hanging over their head to pay off. Personally this year, a major earthly debt was paid off and it feels wonderful. Everyone dreams of being debt free! There is a debt – a sin debt - that has to be paid but we are unable to pay it off even with an abundance of good works, praying or fasting, but Jesus came to earth for this express purpose to pay our debt and set us free by His atoning death on the cross for our sins. What a huge act of kindness extended to us by Jesus Christ.  I bought a large red Christmas stocking and had DEBT embroidered on one side of the cuff and on the other side PAID.  This is the story I am telling my friends this year.  For little children I bought miniature sized red stockings which are meant to hang on the Christmas tree like ornaments. I will put chocolates in them to give as a small gift and tell them the story, too, in a relevant way for children to understand.

Witnessing at Christmas time is very exciting for me because the opportunities are rich.

Dear heavenly Father, it is so wonderful to have my sin-debt paid for and to enjoy the free gift of eternal life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.