by Shirley Emms
It’s a tiny bag. Not much bigger than a lunch bag. Held together with a candy stripe string. Cozied up with hessian, it carries 12 cards, 12 decorations, 3 letters and 2 books (@just R425 a bag, you pay once and have a lifelong tradition). There’s nothing magical inside, but it holds a story. A powerful story that could change a life forever. So, let me share with you why I am not ashamed of what’s in this bag. Why this bag gives me courage!
It started with taking back what was rightfully mine
It began when I came face-to-face with the realisation that I was sausaging my kids through the Christmas factory! I was bogged down for months in finding a gift that would occupy them for loads of time, grant me the badge of having a thrifty wallet and, of course tap into their developmental milestones. I spent my time Pinteresting the latest décor ideas and discussing the logistics of food and family dynamics. I took one look at myself in the mirror and asked: “Who are you?”
Nothing about my Christmas set me apart. Nothing about my Christmas cemented my identity as a follower of Christ. Nothing about my Christmas made me nail my colours to the mast. So, it was the year that I decided to reclaim Christmas. To take it back as my own. Christmas belonged to me because I belonged to Christ.
Taking Christmas out for a spin
I realised that most of what the world has stolen from Christmas was an affront to my faith. But I also acknowledged that attacking the gradual, polite shop-lifting of my beliefs would be isolating. For years, I had gazed upon it in silence and very often display mixed messages in my behaviour. So, I decided to take every non- Christian token, and give it a gospel spin!
I pulled the wreath, a sign of eternity and victory and declared it a symbol of Jesus- our forever winning King. I grabbed the gifts, and weaved the truth that Jesus was the greatest gift we could ever have. Shucks, I even took Santa, and instead of booting him out the door, I made it our endeavour to share the grace of Christ with him and pull him out of his naughty-nice religion. The timing was perfect when I discovered the launch of Simon Camilleri’s “When Santa Heard the Gospel”.
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So, why I am not ashamed of what’s in this bag
My little bag became jam packed with God’s story. Filled with opportunities to tell the gospel! I now had a tradition! A planned habit for every year. A way to pass on God’s story, the gospel story. I could help my children store up Jesus when they saw a wreath, the gifts, the Christmas lights, a star, a Christmas tree, a candy cane, the feast of food and so many more assumed moments. They were armed with the gospel, while still being engaged in the culture.
So, I am not ashamed of what’s in this bag. As Romans 1: 16 says
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes
This bag holds power. Because this bag holds the gospel! I am not ashamed of what’s in this bag. Rather I am prepared to declare the gospel and what better time than Christmas. And what better way than using the symbols and traditions that makes our culture willing to engage in the holiday season!
So, buy a bag! No better buy 10! The gospel has no price tag.
A bag for your neighbour, a bag for a friend, a bag for a child in church, a bag for your niece, a bag for your grandchild, your friend’s grandchild or even sponsor a bag. The opportunities are endless!
Don’t stop this year, and just tick the Jesus box!
Commit to a bag a year! Commit to sharing Christ every Christmas!
Order our DEAR ME Advent Calendar Bag to celebrate 12 days to Christmas