“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
Last night Faith United Methodist Church hosted an Advent program with special guest Jill Hardie, author of the newly released book The Sparkle Box. The Sparkle Box is a beautiful and heartwarming book about a tradition that honors Jesus on His birthday. From the time I first learned of the book, I was touched by the simple message and challenged by the need to make Christmas more about Jesus!
The tradition in the story is simple. Create a box, decorate it if you want and then throughout the season of Advent (or even throughout the year) focus on doing things for Jesus. Write what you do on a piece of paper and place it inside the box. On Christmas morning open the box and share as a family all the gifts that were given to Jesus! This may seem like a simple act, but it is an activity with the powerful potential to change Christmas! Imagine for a moment the joy that comes from giving gifts to the greatest gift of all – Jesus Christ! Truly the greatest gifts we can give are those that glorify and honor God!
I listened last night as Jill shared her story of how God called her to write the book. Her heart for Jesus inspired me and I hope those of you who have the opportunity to hear Jill speak are blessed as well. What a joy it was to hear her children talk about how this simple tradition has impacted their lives! I was touched as Jill shared how God gave her the words, the title of the book and the simple yet powerful commission, “My child, you are the light of the world. Make it sparkle.” What might happen if we all keep that simple thought at the forefront of everything we do this Advent? How might Christmas change? How might God change us? How might the world sparkle with the love of Christ?
I once heard a speaker share that the mission of his organization was to impact enough change in our society that would result in a culture shift. He felt that impacting 20% of the population in a given community would result in the kind of culture shift that could change the world. Jesus reminds us in John 12:32, “When I am lifted up, I will draw all people to me.” So I wonder what might happen in our congregation and community if we focus on intentionally doing things for Jesus this Advent. What might happen if we focus on lifting up Jesus in everything we do? Could we really change Christmas? Do we believe that we have the power to make a difference for Jesus in our world?
Jill challenged us to consider what our gifts to Jesus might be. What touches your heart? What are your passions? What moves your heart to expressions of compassion? Is it illiteracy, the homeless, the abused, the hungry, animals, caring for the environment, something else? Matthew 25:40 reminds us that whatever we do for the least of our brothers and sisters we do for Jesus. What is God calling you to do for Him? How is God calling you to use your gift of compassion to touch the heart and life of someone else? How is God calling you to use your passion to become a gift that brings glory and honor to His name? How is God calling you to make a difference for Jesus in the world? How will you honor Jesus on His birthday?
I am thankful for people like Jill whom God uses to inspire us with His word. The light of Christ shines brightly through Jill and as she shared her story with us last night, I saw the light of Christ shining through others as well. The light and love of Christ was shining through everyone who served to make the event an enjoyable experience for everyone who attended. Families, kids and adults of all ages created their own sparkle boxes and sparkle jars to take home with them so they can make the world sparkle with the love of Christ! Children and adults were moved by the desire to let their light shine, to help others, to do something for Jesus. What a blessing! Praise God!
As we move into the season of Advent may we all be challenged, encouraged and inspired to make the greatest gifts of the season those we do for Jesus. In the words God gave Jill through the story of The Sparkle Box book may we remember that, “You are the light of the world. Make it sparkle!”In Christ’s Love, Kathy Schmucker
Gracious God, As we move into this season of Advent help us to keep our hearts and minds focused onYou. Help us also to be mindful of the needs of others. May our hearts, words, and actions be a reflection of Your Light in the world as we offer ourselves to You this Christmas. Help us to sparkle for you by making our lives a gift to the greatest gift of all – Jesus Christ. In His Precious Name we pray. AMEN.
“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16
For additional resources and to learn more about the book visit: http://www.thesparklebox.com . For information and pictures about the Sparkle for Jesus Advent program at Faith UMC visit: http://www.faithumchurch.org
How will you shine your light this Advent? How will you sparkle for Jesus? Click ‘leave a comment’ and share your story!