Posted tagged ‘Christmas’

I Believe in Christmas

December 25, 2009

By Zig Ziglar

It’s the first Christmas I can remember. It arrived just seven weeks after the deaths of my father and baby sister. To make matters worse, it was in the heart of the Great Depression. Things were tough. All of us children who were older made what income contributions we could, but the truth was my mother had eight of her eleven remaining children still living at home, and six were too young to work. Understandably, the Ziglar kids were concerned about what kind of Christmas it would be!

The good news is that though our grief was fresh, we still celebrated Christmas. We received no toys that year, but much to my delight in my gift box I found three English walnuts and something I had never tasted before—raisins! They were absolutely delicious.  Mama prepared her wonderful molasses candy and we had a small cedar tree. And my mother read the Christmas story, like she always did.

My sixth Christmas will always have great meaning to me. We celebrated the birth of Christ even in hard times because we believed in Christmas.

A CHANGE IN CELEBRATING THE SEASON

Unfortunately, over the years things have changed. The cheerful “Merry Christmas” of yesteryear has been replaced by the politically correct “Happy Holidays!” In the minds of many people we celebrate “holidays.” Not only is Christ not at the center of the celebration, he isn’t even considered to be the reason for the season!

If I seem upset about the changes that I see taking place in regard to Christmas, it is because I am! It’s not because an old tradition is being changed. No, I’m upset that the event that made it possible for me to have a life I could never have imagined is being hidden from view with decorations, wrapping paper, parties and political correctness!

CHRISTMAS! A REASON TO CELEBRATE

You see, I believe it’s worth celebrating that Jesus came to earth—His birth signaled hope for all mankind. I believe that as he lived out a perfect life before God and mankind, he showed that he truly was God’s Son. And I believe that by giving his life up on a cross, he completely paid the penalty that my sins—and yours—deserve before a holy God. And it was made possible because of that first Christmas.

How could I not believe in Christmas? Because Christ was born as a baby in a manger that’s more than enough reason to celebrate Christmas for what it is—a joyful occasion.  I’ve experienced forgiveness of my sins and have the assurance of eternity in Heaven!

If you don’t know Jesus Christ, let me say that He tells us in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  How do you do that? First, understand that I’m talking about a relationship, not a religion. All the world’s major religions emphasize that you qualify for heaven by your good works—the things that you do. Such “religion” is spelled “d-o.” Christianity is spelled “d-o-n-e.” Christ already paid for our sins when He died on the cross. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). And he rose from the grave proving that the punishment for our sins was fully paid.

Nothing we could ever “do” could qualify us for God’s forgiveness and reserve our place in heaven.  That’s why Christ himself said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him who he has sent” (John 6:29).

CELEBRATE LIKE NEVER BEFORE!

God forgives us, saves us from our sins, and gives us eternal life based on our belief in what Jesus did for us. Why? Because God is gracious beyond measure! The Bible says that it is “…by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works…” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Though “the wages of sin is death” [eternal separation from God], the greatest Christmas gift we could ever have is “the free gift of God…eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

With gift-giving like that from God, I don’t want to lose the significance of Christmas. I believe in Christmas!

I urge you to accept the greatest “Christmas gift” you’ll ever receive: If you’re convinced that God’s way is the only way to meaningful life now and eternal life in heaven, you can tell him in words like these…”Dear God, I do believe Jesus died for me, and took the punishment my sins deserved. I want to receive your free gift of salvation and eternal life. Thank you for making this possible!”

Then join me this year in celebrating Christmas like you’ve never celebrated it before!

Merry Christmas!

This article can be found on a Christmas tract from the good folks at Good News Publishing.  You can buy it and share with your friends and neighbors.

My Best Christmas Gift Ever – The Rest of the Story

August 22, 2008

 

 

When I was 12 years old Dad gave me the best Christmas gift a boy could ever get – a brand new top of the line BMX bike.  Please read Dad’s recollection of the event from the book Secrets Of Closing The Sale found on pages 390 -391.  Then, I will tell you the rest of the story.

 

Just Like the Little Boy Across the Street

I’ve never seen sincerity and integrity more on display than they were in a personal experience my son and I had several years ago. A few days before Christmas, Tom and I went down to get a new bicycle for him. Many years ago I could speak bicycle but today “bicycle” is an entirely different language. If you don’t believe me just listen to a teenager or go down to a bicycle shop and listen to the chit-chat which takes place.

On this occasion Tom and I went to a Schwinn Bicycle Shop in North Dallas. The owner was busy with a grandmother and her little grandson, who were looking at a bicycle. The grandmother didn’t speak bicycle either, so she had a precise list of exactly what she wanted on a specific bicycle, including the size. The owner of the shop looked at the list and said, “Yes, we have this bicycle and it comes in two sizes. Is the bicycle for this little fellow here?” The grandmother said, “Yes, it is. The little boy across the street has one like it and I want one exactly like his for my grandson.”

Owner: “Ma’am, your grandson is too small for this big bicycle and it will not be safe for him to ride. You should get him the other bicycle, which is identical in every way. It is the same price and quality but it is smaller, and your grandson can handle it much more easily. It will be at least three years before it will be safe for him to ride the larger bicycle.”

Grandmother: “No way. I want exactly the same bicycle the little boy across the street has. I want the very best for my grandson.” Again the owner tried to explain that it was the best, it was just smaller, and if her grandson were riding the larger bicycle he’d have to move so far from side to side he would be unable to control it. The owner patiently pointed out that her grandson could lose control and might fall and if he happened to be in the street, it could result in a very serious accident. The grandmother was adamant. “No sir, I want that bicycle, right there, exactly like the one the little boy across the street has. If I can’t have the one I want, I don’t want any.”

Then the owner did one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen a professional salesman do. It set the standard for what I consider the “professional” in the world of selling. He looked at that grandmother and said, “Ma’am, you’re probably going to think I’m crazy, but I cannot sell you the bicycle you want. It would not be safe for your grandson to ride, and if anything should ever happen to him because I sold you a bicycle he could not control, it would be on my conscience.” Incredibly enough, the grandmother left in a huff.

The “Integrity” Close

I hope you don’t think the owner carried his integrity too far, and deep down I don’t think anyone who is interested in building a sales career will feel that way.

Here’s a man who can be trusted. I would be willing to send my son into his shop with a check made out to him with the amount left blank. This man has integrity and he really does care about his customers. It’s true that the owner missed that sale, but as a direct result of “missing” that one, he has probably made countless others.

 

The Rest of the Story

 

I have thought about this Christmas gift many times over the last 30 years.  But last year everything changed for me. I was listening to a series by John Eldredge, one of my favorite all time authors (John’s Blog), about how our Father (God) knows our heart and He wants the best for His children.  That is when I realized that my Christmas gift was so much more than “just a bike.”

 

You see, Dad more than anything wanted to give me the perfect gift.  Dad’s problem, as he explains it, was “I don’t speak bicycle.”   So, in the natural sense, there was no way Dad could give me the perfect gift, unless of course, God knew his heart.

 

Dad says that “coincidence is just God’s way of staying anonymous.”  And for most of my life I thought I was just a lucky boy who got an awesome bike because we just happened to wander into the bike store at just the right time. 

 

Now I know different.  God set the stage for that day.  Not so I would get just the right bike, but so that Dad’s heart would know his son had the best bike.  And so that 30 years later I would realize that God’s providence is in everything, even a bike.

 

P.S.  The name of the bicycle shop was the Richardson Bike Mart, and it’s still there ( www.bikemart.com ).  There is a pretty famous bike rider that came out of that store that you may have heard of by the name of Lance Armstrong.  Coincidence?  I think not.

 

If you want to listen to Dad tell this story, click here:

http://www.ziglar.com/zig_update.php?article=update_82608