Minister’s Message: Remembering the greatest gift of all on Christmas

Minister’s Message: Remembering the greatest gift of all on Christmas

Christmas is about the gifts. But not the kind that can be purchased with a credit card.

  • Rick Cupp Minister, Kenai Fellowship
  • Thursday, December 19, 2019 10:05pm
  • Life

Please allow me, in my own words, to tell a Christmas story told by Stephen Shadeeg, an Arizona businessman, the father of four children.

Christmas morning, 4:30 a.m. His son David, 7 at the time, bursts into Stephen’s bedroom.

“Daddy! Mother! Come quick! I saw it!” said David. His eyes were lit up and sparkling. He couldn’t quit talking. “Come quick! Come quick!”

Stephen’s immediate response was to feel cheated. When they opened Christmas gifts at their house, it was very much a shared activity. Stephen and his wife wanted to be right there to see every expression on every face. So there was a very clear family rule: None of the children could go down to see gifts under the tree until the rest of the family was awake. Then they could all go together.

And this was a special Christmas! David had been wanting a bike for two years. This was the day he got it. Stephen realized, however, he couldn’t scold his kid for breaking the rule. After all, it was Christmas. Maybe the rule could be reinforced later. But not this day.

So Stephen and his wife wiped the sleep from their eyes. They woke all the other kids. David grabbed a hand and led them all along the hall and down the stairs.

They moved through the darkened living room toward a window on the eastern side of the house. David completely missed seeing the bike under the tree. He pointed his little finger to the eastern sky and said, “Look! The Star of Bethlehem! I’ve seen the star!” And they all basked in its light.

It’s a wonderful story and a gentle reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. It is about the gifts. But not the kind that can be purchased with a credit card.

The greatest gift of all was Jesus Christ, God himself, come to earth because he loved us. Nothing else compares.

But he also brought other gifts. He brought hope and peace. One of my younger brothers died just a few weeks ago. I fully intend this Christmas, as best as I am able, to open my arms to fully unwrap and hold on to hope and peace.

He brought forgiveness. He brought healing. He brought purpose. He brought a new way to live. He brought a new way to see. He brought a new joy that cannot be stolen. He brought a new definition of “neighbor” and a new way to relate to others. And he brought many other gifts that I am still trying to unwrap.

So do look down under the tree this Christmas. But above all else, look up to the heavens and give thanks.

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Kenai Fellowship offers Sunday Bible classes for all ages 10 a.m. Worship 11:15 a.m. Wednesday meal 6:15 p.m. Worship and classes at 7 p.m. Christmas Eve service Tuesday 7 p.m. No Wednesday service Christmas Day. 283-7682.

Rick Cupp

For the Peninsula Clarion

More in Life

Candy pecans make a sweet snack to enjoy on excursions. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Road trip reimagined

Candied pecans accompany more subdued wandering

Robert C. Lewis photo courtesy of the Alaska Digital Archives 
Ready to go fishing, a pair of guests pose in front of the Russian River Rendezvous in the early 1940s.
The Disappearing Lodge, Part 1

By the spring of 1931, a new two-story log building — the lodge’s third iteration — stood on the old site, ready for business

Viola Davis stars in “The Woman King.” (Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.)
On the screen: Women reign in latest action flick

‘The Woman King’ is a standout that breaks new ground

Artwork donated for the Harvest Auction hangs at the Kenai Art Center on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Auction, juried show to showcase local talent

Kenai Art Center will host its annual Harvest Auction this weekend, juried art show next month

Sweet and tart cranberry pecan oat bars are photographed. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Cranberries to match the bright colors of fall

Delicious cranberry pecan oat bars are sweet and tart

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Take a chance

The fact of the matter is, you can find a way to hurt yourself in just about any athletic endeavor.

Alaska Digital Archives
George W. Palmer (left), the namesake for the city in the Matanuska Valley and the creek near Hope, poses here with his family in 1898 in the Knik area. Palmer became a business partner of Bill Dawson in Kenai in the last years of Dawson’s life.
Bill Dawson: The Price of Success, Part 5

Thus ended the sometimes tumultuous Alaska tenure of William N. Dawson.

Minister’s Message: Plenty

The Bible story of Joseph in Egypt preparing the harvest in the seven years of plenty teaches us some vital lessons

From left: Lacey Jane Brewster, Terri Zopf-Schoessler, Donna Shirnberg, Tracie Sanborn and Bill Taylor (center) rehearse “Menopause Made Me Do It” on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Applause for menopause

Kenai Performers’ new play takes aim at ‘not the most glorious part of womanhood’

A still from “Jazzfest.” (Photo provided)
DocFest could be the golden year of documentaries — again

Homer Documentary Film Festival returns for 18th year with solid mix

Bulkogi Stew, a mixture of beef steak, potato starch noodles, green onions and broth, is enjoyed as part of the Korean harvest festival, Chuseok. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
A hearty stew to celebrate harvest and loved ones

Bulkogi Stew makes for a perfect drizzly Chuseok in Alaska

This is the only known photo of Peter F. (“Frenchy”) Vian and William N. (“Bill”) Dawson together. They were photographed standing on the porch of their Kenai store in about 1911-12. (Photo courtesy of the Kenai Historical Society)
Bill Dawson: The Price of Success, Part 4

One man who never seemed to get on Dawson’s bad side was Peter F. (“Frenchy”) Vian