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As I watch the snow begin to fall outside my window, I am reminded of how swiftly the "Holiday Season" has passed. The lights on the houses and winter-themed lawn decorations have seemed out of place with no snow on the ground.

As I thought about the holiday season that is falling farther behind us, I was once again reminded about how we treat gifts. We all look forward to receiving presents, whether for Christmas or a birthday. What was the best thing you received? An expensive electronic device? A wonderful trip to some place you've always wanted to go? Something with too much "Assembly required"? Whatever it is, we often don't respond to those gifts the way we ought.

And what about the gift of salvation-a just and perfect God who sent His only Son to live in the world He created, and become sin for us, and die the death we all deserve? How do you treat that gift? Do you even think about it at all? Are you too preoccupied- like the busy innkeeper in Bethlehem that first Christmas. Are you so caught up in all that you need to get done in your busy life, that you fail to see what Christ really commands you to do?

Or are you like the religious leaders in the Nativity story? The ones Herod asked about the birth of this "King of the Jews" in Matthew 2:2-6. These men were very learned and knew what the prophecy said, and replied that He was in "Bethlehem of Judea". And that was it. They did no more than quote the prophets. They did not jump at the chance to go see this fulfillment of the prophecy, they did not offer to have Herod follow them as they rushed to see this newborn King…no, they were INDIFFERENT.

Maybe you are the same way- living around religion your whole life, but not really caring for any lasting impact on your life. You know the right answers, but they mean nothing to you. You are indifferent to the gift. The indifference of the religious leaders of Israel grew until they eventually sought to kill Him. What will your indifference lead to?

Working with young students, I appreciate the excitement I witness when they first see the snow start falling. As we grow older, though, the snow becomes an annoyance and frustration. We’ve seen it all before, and we become familiar with it. And you know the cliche: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” The people Jesus grew up with felt that familiarity and ended up seeing nothing special about the carpenter’s Son. They didn’t appreciate the gift. They also, tried to kill Jesus. What about you? Are you familiar or contemptuous, viewing salvation as a crutch for the weak and helpless?

The gift should be appreciated. Like Mary (Luke 2:19), we ought to keep these things in our heart [meditate on them]. If we have received the gift, we ought to be thankful, and how is that gracefulness shown? By sharing it with others! Like the shepherds who were “watching their flocks by night”, let us not be afraid to “Go Tell It on a Mountain, that Jesus Christ is born.”

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