The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger." Luke 2: 10-12

There are times when I love the Christmas season. There are times when I am not feeling the joy that everyone else seems to express.

Instead, I just feel the rush and over-commitment of the season. Today was, however, one of those days when I felt joy. I had the privilege to deliver to Elizabeth Jaeger, homeless student liaison for Hays USD 489, many packages for a USD 489 family. Yes, there are homeless students in Hays just ask Elizabeth or ask schools' faculty or staff.

While packing all the items, I was thinking about the Christmas story that really is all about joy in giving and sharing love. The lesson about joy and giving starts with a Mary, a young girl, who believed that God had indeed chosen her to be the mother of Jesus Christ.

I don't know about you, but if someone told me at that young of an age I was going to be a mother, I am not sure I would have had Mary's reaction. Rather than shock, disbelief and indignation, Mary was honored, thankful and grateful. She was the embodiment of the joy of Christmas.

She gave herself willingly and with thanksgiving to be a vessel that God used to bring Christ into the world. She did not worry what the world would think of her. Instead, in The Magnificat she declares, "For he that is mighty hath done great things to me."

The lesson continues with joy and giving when you think about Joseph's accepting and giving attitude and willingness to still marry Mary. He would have been within his "rights" within the custom of the day to cancel the betrothal and to leave Mary appearing to the world as an unwed mother.

Instead, he trusted the angel who appeared to him and believed he had been given the privilege and joy of being the earthly father of the Savior of the world.

Of course, the ultimate gift of giving and joy is our Lord and Savior, born as a babe wrapped in a manger. He came so that we may have life and have it most abundantly. Because of the gift of Jesus Christ, we can experience joy even in the midst of the over-commitment and rushed parts of our lives. Because we have received the ultimate gift of love, Jesus Christ, we have the capacity to give to others.

My prayer is that even after Christmas, we experience the joy of the Lord and the joy of giving to others. Need exists 365 days of the year.

May we, having been given the ultimate gift of love, share that love through our actions and deeds of sharing with others from the many blessings we have been given.

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

The Rev. Lesley Radius is pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hays.