Excerpt from my Christmas reading:

“… the heart of the Christmas story: sacrificial love…love and sacrifice are synonyms, the deeper the cost of giving, the deeper the experience of love and joy. Sacrifice, of course, is what the true Christmas story is all about. It is not so much about giving as it is about sacrificing. (All sacrifice is giving, but not all giving is sacrifice.) … Sacrifice means to give to another person something we could have kept for ourselves. It means to choose, to deny, to love, to give, and to find the deepest pleasure in another’s joy. …

There is no shortage of opportunities to sacrifice. All we have to do is look for the need. That’s what God did when He sent His Son into the world at the first Christmas. The need was twofold: for the human race to see what had been lost in the Garden of Eden–perfect humanity; and to restore what was lost–fellowship with God through the forgiveness of sins. Once the need is identified, the gift becomes obvious. The challenge is to be willing to provide a gift as big as the need. Sometimes the need is bigger than what we can comfortably give in terms of time or treasure. And that’s where sacrifice comes in. Giving becomes sacrificial when we take something we might normally have channeled toward ourselves and dedicate it to increasing the joy of another.” (David Jeremiah, The 12 Ways of Christmas)

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