By Commissioner Colleen Riley

I love the lights, the decorated trees, the smells of baking and the laughter of family gathering together. It is always challenging to find just the right gift. I search and agonize over what will be THE gift that they will love. I want the gifts I give to bring joy to the person who receives it.

Even with all of the earthly gifts we give, there is none greater than the eternal gift of Jesus. All those years ago, when Jesus was born in a humble stable, coming as a baby to be THE gift to the world, He gave us the only gift that we will ever need, the gift of our Savior.

This Christmas will be different from we have ever known. Families may not be able to gather, and stores may not be open for shopping like we have been used to. But one thing remains the same, we are celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Scripture says that He came so that we could have life everlasting and it is only through Him that we are saved. When we give our lives over to Christ, He promises us a place with Him for all eternity. That is the gift worth opening, and that is the gift worth sharing.

I encourage each of you, no matter your circumstances, to share this most precious gift with someone who needs to know the saving power of Jesus Christ. Read the Christmas story once again and be reminded for yourself that Jesus is the gift of love, joy and peace that we all need.

May God bless you this Christmas season.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.  Luke 2:1-20 (NIV)