I love to be with my family at Christmas and to recall warm Christmases I spent with my late father and mother and others who are now in heaven. I also love to find ways to help those in need, particularly at Christmas when gift-giving has such importance.

But as wonderful as these things are, they are not the true Spirit of Christmas.

When I think of the Spirit of Christmas, one amazing passage of Scripture comes to mind. I love to think on this passage, especially this time of year.

It is Philippians 2:6-8 (NKJV), which reads, “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

Think of it — the very Son of God willfully surrendered his right to:

1. Express His diety.
2. Display His divine attributes.
3. Demonstrate His equality with God.

Why would He do this? Why would He leave the unspeakable splendors of heaven when He knew what His ultimate destiny would be?

The Liberty Bible Commentary beautifully answers this question: “He did not regard His position of equality with God as something to be held onto, but as something to be relinquished for the redemption of man. He gave up His throne in glory for a cross of shame and suffering.”

This Spirit of Christmas becomes most remarkable when we internalize the fact that Jesus abandoned all in order to die on that terrible cross for us. He did it for me. He did it for you.

Certainly, the beauty and wonder of Jesus laying in the manger with Mary and Joseph thrills our hearts each Christmas. But the reality is that He would soon hang on that cross and take on my sin and your sin so that we can have eternal life, in Him.

This year, as you wrap gifts for the loved ones you adore, or as you prepare a Christmas dinner or go out and sing carols with your church group, I want you to ask yourself a question.

That question is this: What gift can I give Jesus this Christmas?

If the true meaning of Christmas is the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus and His subsequent death on the cross, should we not be thinking of what we can do for Him?

When we love someone, we seek to please them and to do the things we know they love. That’s how we best love Jesus — daily demonstrating our love and eternal gratitude to Him by following His will, praying and studying the Word and ministering in His name.

As you know, we are prayerfully asking God to allow us to make One Million New Disciples by 2025. We are endeavoring to do this for two reasons: (1) God has planted this vision in our hearts and (2) We owe so much to the Lord Jesus Christ.

This goal is being accomplished through much prayer, and through our ongoing church planting ministry, our pastoral training ministry, our world missions outreaches, our benevolence ministry, our media ministry, and in many other ministries that proclaim the Gospel.

Remember that we are not just wanting people to believe — we are seeking to win people to Him AND to make them disciples, true followers of the Living Christ!

We are giving our time, talent and treasure to the Lord Jesus because we love Him and we want others to know the fullness of living in Christ. Just as surely as the Wise Men brought gifts to the newborn King, we too bring the gift of ourselves, our service to the Living Christ.

This Christmas, I pray that you will experience His love and grace in many wonderful ways. I send my warmest wishes for a blessed Christmas and my true thanks for your friendship and support. May God be magnified in all you do during this very special time of year.

Your Friend in Christ,