Posted by: New in Every Way | December 12, 2012

The Heart of Christmas

~~ Removing Roadblocks to a Healthy Self ~~ How Real Life Connects with the Bible

Heart & traceOne of the traditions of my childhood home was listening to Dad’s reading of a story on Christmas Eve. If the story was long, he would read for several evenings, concluding the story on Christmas Eve. The Story of the Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke was one of those long ones. As a child, I was intrigued by the plot of that story. As an adult, reading it to my dad whose voice had grown weak with age, I was caught up by the style—language as rich as the tapestries of Artaban’s native Persia. Now, remembering this story, I am struck by the way it captures the heart of Christmas.

It is often said that the spirit of Christmas is giving. And it is.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son . . . (John 3:16, emphasis added).

And the imaginary fourth wise man also gave. He sold his vast possessions to purchase three costly jewels to give the baby king who he believed was the hope of the world. The he gave . . . he gave one gem after another to save the lives of desperate strangers in his path. When he finally found the King, he had no gift to give him. But he knew that he had done what love dictated.

To his great joy, he learned that the King was as pleased by those acts of love as if Artaban had done them for Him.* Because the King of the universe deeply loves everyone he has created, and rejoices when someone—like Artaban—does them good.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ (Matthew 25:40 NIV).

Because:
The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
The LORD is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made (Psalm 145:8-9 NIV).

Yes, God gave . . . because he loved. (For God so loved the world that he gave . . . [John 3:16, emphasis added]).

This year I’m trying not to get so caught up in giving all the right things to all the right people that I bury the love in my heart. That I walk right past folks who need a life-saving gift, thinking I “don’t have” time—or money or whatever—to deal with their needs.

YOUR TURN to Share or Discuss:
• What opportunities have you had to show the love of God this Christmas season?
• Did they interfere with your normal Christmas plans?
• Ten years from now what will really matter—Christmas-as-usual or what you did out of love?
• What will make this a real Christmas?

For no-hassle commenting, enter your name when prompted, but not your email address.

*I’ve only given you the sketchiest summary of The Story of the Other Wise Man. I hope you treat yourself to this classic. Right now, you can download a Kindle edition for $0.99!

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Responses

  1. […] you download a copy of The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke for $0.99? (See Wednesday’s post, “The Heart of Christmas” for an introduction to this Christmas classic.) I recommend it. It is a literary treat and a […]

  2. […] you download a copy of The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke for $0.99? (See Wednesday’s post, “The Heart of Christmas” for an introduction to this Christmas classic.) I recommend it. It is a literary treat and a […]


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