The nativity set at St. Michael Church in Prague reminds us of God’s greatest gift.
Priceless Christmas Gifts
In early December, a fellow LCMS missionary asked me to be a guest at her online English class and talk about American Christmas traditions, such as giving gifts. The conversation started with a question, “Why do we give gifts at Christmas?” The group of Czech teens was silent.
We talked about God’s gift of Jesus as our Savior because He loved us. We often give Christmas gifts to those we love—family, friends, neighbors, even our pets. Czechs love their pets, especially dogs, and I see them in buses, trams, coffee shops and restaurants. Ironically, Czechs don’t give gifts to their pets and the whole concept seemed strange to them.
But the group was more intrigued by the idea of nontraditional gifts, such as making gifts. This tradition started in my family when my children were still quite small. Buying a gift to give someone is difficult for many people, especially children, but making a gift or giving the gift of time can be a true gift of love. I showed some of the handmade gifts from friends that I brought with me to Prague, a special apron, hot pad and handwoven rug. I also talked about some memorable gifts I received from my children, such as my daughter’s handmade spice rack and the year my son caught walleye and made a special fish fry for me. All the handmade gifts have been creative, thoughtful and, most important, made with love. To me, that reflects the kind of Christmas that I treasure. The baby Jesus didn’t come in a perfectly wrapped box covered in glitzy paper and bows; He lay in a lowly manger for everyone, a gift of pure love.
I started making gifts for some of my Czech friends last year, and they were pleasantly surprised by this foreign concept. This year, when I gave my handmade gift to a friend, she showed me the little knit sock keychain that I made for her last year and told me she thinks of me every time she sees it.
This year, with so many Covid restrictions in place, I treasured the gifts I received through handwritten letters, cards, and precious time to visit with family and friends, all gifts of love. I am reminded of God’s gift of Jesus that came to us because of love, so that Christ would offer the most sacrificial gift of forgiveness for all of us, something so precious that it’s value is beyond anything we could ever measure—priceless.
This month we are reminded of God’s love for us and the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 (ESV)
Do you want to read about the traditional Czech Christmas carp dinner or print the attached newsletter?