Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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葡萄樹傳媒

歡慶聖誕季最棒的禮物──CELEBRATING THE GIVING SEASON’S GREATEST GIFT

這一週,全球會有數百萬人慶祝一年中最重要的節日之一:聖誕節。儘管慶祝方式會因為國情或文化有所不同,但這個一年一度慶典的標誌之一就是贈送和交換禮物。

在商業和專業領域裡,贈禮的習俗可能包括給受雇者和員工個別的禮物;給客戶和供應商的特別紀念品;節日派對;或者有時會有年終獎金。此外,很多人也會用年末的時間為親人和朋友採買禮物。

當我們享受這個節期,陶醉於贈送和接受禮物時,我建議各位追溯這個傳統的起源。基督徒或耶穌基督的門徒都知道,這個季節不只是物質資源的相互贈予,更有其他超越這些的深刻涵義。正如聖經所告訴我們的那樣,耶穌是上帝給全人類最重要,無與倫比的賞賜。我們當中很多人都非常熟悉這節經文:「神愛世人,甚至將他的獨生子賜給他們,叫一切信他的不致滅亡,反得永生。」(約翰福音3章16節)

馬太福音告訴我們,彌賽亞的降臨是一件非同尋常、萬眾期待的大事,以至於東方智者在耶穌出生後就來拜訪祂,還攜帶黃金、乳香和沒藥等禮物獻給耶穌。然而,聖經也清楚聲明上帝才是賜予的源頭。下面是我們從這個獨特的神聖禮物中學到的一些事:

生命的糧。在聖經中,「麵包」是維持生命必需品的同義詞。耶穌在約翰福音中宣稱:「我就是生命的糧。到我這裏來的,必定不餓;信我的,永遠不渴。……我是從天上降下來生命的糧,人若吃這糧,就必永遠活著……」(約翰福音6章35-51節)祂告訴我們,若要不僅在今生真正地活著,也享受應許中將來的生命,我們就必須接受祂。

好牧人。聖經時代農業社會的人們習慣羊的存在,他們知道這些毛茸茸的生物有多麼依賴牧羊人的照顧和關心。耶穌也知道我們同樣多麼需要引導、供應和保護,才能面對日常生活中的挑戰和紛擾。耶穌向追隨他的人保證說:「我是好牧人;好牧人為羊捨命……我是好牧人;我認識我的羊,我的羊也認識我,正如父認識我,我也認識父一樣;並且我為羊捨命。」(約翰福音10章11-15節)

世界的光。儘管現今的科技發展已經到達了令人難以置信的地步,但我們的世界卻越來越黑暗和絕望。我們可以在哪裡找到希望?耶穌說我們可以轉向祂,擺脫黑暗。當我們決定要忠實地跟隨他時,還能為別人帶來光明。「我是世界的光。跟從我的,就不在黑暗裏走,必要得著生命的光……你們是世上的光。城造在山上是不能隱藏的。」(約翰福音8章12節,馬太福音5章14節)耶穌說當我們行在祂的光中,我們就能向其他人反映祂的光。

© 2019. Robert J. Tamasy 是企業巔峰: 給今日職場從箴言而來永恆的智慧 一書的作者。也與導師之心的作者David A. Stoddard 合著Tufting Legacies。編輯多本著作包括Mike Landry. Bob的書: 透過苦難成長。Mike Landry. Bob的網站為www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com, 他的雙週部落格為: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com

反省與問題討論

  1. 描述一下聖誕節和這個季節你最喜歡的部分。對你來說這是一個特殊的節期嗎?為什麼
  2. 你送過最好的聖誕禮物是什麼?你收到過最棒的禮物又是什麼?請解釋你的答案。
  3. 「神愛世人,甚至將他的獨生子賜給他們」這句話時對你有什麼意義?為什麼耶穌基督被視為上帝的禮物?
  4. 耶穌用來形容自己的哪個字彙對你來說最有意義?你能想到其他對你很重要,關於耶穌的稱謂或名詞嗎?

備註:如果你手上有聖經,希望閱讀更多和主題相關的經文,請參考(因經文較長,考慮到篇幅和新舊約 經文,您可以參閱下列未列出的經文: 約翰福音10:12-18、15:18、哥林多前書1-11章)

馬太福音5章13節
5:13 「你們是世上的鹽。鹽若失了味,怎能叫它再鹹呢?以後無用,不過丟在外面,被人踐踏了。

約翰福音10章1-18節
10:1 「我實實在在地告訴你們,人進羊圈,不從門進去,倒從別處爬進去,那人就是賊,就是強盜。
10:2 從門進去的,才是羊的牧人。
10:3 看門的就給他開門;羊也聽他的聲音。他按著名叫自己的羊,把羊領出來。
10:4 既放出自己的羊來,就在前頭走,羊也跟著他,因為認得他的聲音。
10:5 羊不跟著生人;因為不認得他的聲音,必要逃跑。」
10:6 耶穌將這比喻告訴他們,但他們不明白所說的是甚麼意思。
10:7 所以,耶穌又對他們說:「我實實在在地告訴你們,我就是羊的門。
10:8 凡在我以先來的都是賊,是強盜;羊卻不聽他們。
10:9 我就是門;凡從我進來的,必然得救,並且出入得草吃。
10:10 盜賊來,無非要偷竊,殺害,毀壞;我來了,是要叫羊(或譯:人)得生命,並且得的更豐盛。
10:11 我是好牧人;好牧人為羊捨命。

約翰福音14章6節
14:6耶穌說:「我就是道路、真理、生命。若不藉著我,沒有人能到父那裡去。

約翰福音16章5-15節
16:5 現今我往差我來的父那裏去,你們中間並沒有人問我:『你往哪裏去?』
16:6 只因我將這事告訴你們,你們就滿心憂愁。
16:7 然而,我將真情告訴你們,我去是與你們有益的;我若不去,保惠師就不到你們這裏來;我若去,就差他來。
16:8 他既來了,就要叫世人為罪、為義、為審判,自己責備自己。
16:9 為罪,是因他們不信我;
16:10 為義,是因我往父那裏去,你們就不再見我;
16:11 為審判,是因這世界的王受了審判。
16:12 「我還有好些事要告訴你們,但你們現在擔當不了(或譯:不能領會)。
16:13 只等真理的聖靈來了,他要引導你們明白(原文是進入)一切的真理;因為他不是憑自己說的,乃是把他所聽見的都說出來,並要把將來的事告訴你們。
16:14 他要榮耀我,因為他要將受於我的告訴你們。
16:15 凡父所有的,都是我的;所以我說,他要將受於我的告訴你們。」

羅馬書6章23節
6:23 因為罪的工價乃是死;惟有 神的恩賜,在我們的主基督耶穌裏,乃是永生。


CELEBRATING THE GIVING SEASON’S GREATEST GIFT

By Robert J. Tamasy

This week millions of people around the world will observe one of the most significant holidays of the year: Christmas. Although the practice varies from country to country, and culture to culture, one of the hallmarks of this annual celebration is the giving and exchange of gifts.

For the business and professional world, this giving tradition may include individual gifts to employees and staff, special remembrances for clients, customers and suppliers, festive parties, and in some cases, end-of-year bonuses. In addition, many of us are spending these final days making certain that we have completed our gift purchases for loved ones and friends.

As we enjoy this time of year, reveling in both the receiving and giving of gifts, it would be good to trace the origins of this tradition. Those who regard themselves as Christians or followers of Jesus Christ know this season has additional, profound meaning that transcends the bestowing of material resources to one another. Because as we are told in the Scriptures, Jesus was the foremost, incomparable gift from God to all of humankind. A verse very familiar to many of us says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

The gospel of Matthew tells us the coming Messiah was such an extraordinary, much-anticipated event that magi – wise men from the East – came to visit Jesus after His birth, and carried gifts of gold, incense and myrrh to present to Him. However, the Bible makes it clear that God was the original Gift Giver. Here are just some of the things we learn about this unique, divine Gift:

Bread of Life. In the Scriptures, “bread” is synonymous with the necessities of life, those things that sustain us. Jesus, in the gospel of John, declares, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty…. Here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the bread of life that came down from heaven….”

(John 6:35-51). He is telling us that to truly live, not only in this life but in the life promised to come, we must receive Him.

Good Shepherd. People in biblical times were accustomed to the presence of sheep in their agrarian society, and they knew how dependent those wooly creatures were on the care and concern of their shepherds. Recognizing that we, too, require guidance, provision and protection to navigate challenges and complexities of everyday life, Jesus assured His followers, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:11-15).

Light of the World. Increasingly, despite incredible technological advances, we live in a world that seems overwhelmed by darkness and despair. Where can we turn for hope? Jesus said we can turn to Him to escape the darkness and, as we resolved to faithfully follow Him, can bring light to others. “…I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life….You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (John 8:12, Matthew 5:14). He is saying that as we walk in His light, we can reflect His light to others.

© 2019. Robert J. Tamasy has written numerous books, including Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies;The Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard; and edited other books, including Advancing Through Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. Describe your favorite part of Christmas and this season of celebration. Is it a time of special meaning for you? Why or why not?
  2. What is the best Christmas gift you have ever given? What is the greatest gift you have ever received? Explain your answer.
  3. When you read, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,” what does that mean to you? Why is Jesus Christ regarded as a gift from God?
  4. Which of the phrases Jesus used to describe Himself seem most meaningful to you? Can you think of any other titles or terms for Him that have also been important to you?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more consider the following passages:
Matthew 5:13; John 10:1-18, 14:6, 15:18, 16:5-15; Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 1-11

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