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Thanksgiving and Christmas have something in common: They’re both about gratitude—in the former, for what God has done throughout the year, and in the latter, for what Heaven gave to the human race through the gift of God’s Son.

One of my earliest memories of Christmas is when I was five years old. Winter had arrived early on our Oklahoma farm, and a cold wind was blowing the snow outside. It was the week before Christmas, and we still didn’t have a Christmas tree, which concerned me.

I finally decided to take matters into my own hands and secure a tree for our family. I put on my coat, took my little red wagon and got a small hatchet my dad kept in the barn . . . You can watch the video below to see what happened next, but I will never forget that special Christmas, nor my first tree!

Many years have passed since then, and with each passing year, the meaning of Christmas and the magnitude of Heaven’s Gift grows in my heart. Ellen White once wrote regarding Jesus’ birth: “The windows of heaven were opened, and upon the world was poured a flood of heavenly grace. God made to our world the wonderful gift of His only begotten Son . . . He made a sacrifice that defies all computation. To save a fallen race He poured forth the whole treasure of heaven in one gift.” (Manuscript 99, 1906)

And what a gift! It is no wonder that she also writes, “God would be well pleased if on Christmas each church would have a Christmas tree on which shall be hung offerings, great and small . . .” (Adventist Home, p. 482)

Christmas is about giving—not so much to one another, but like the Magi of old, to Jesus. That’s why during this time of year, Kathy and I give a special love offering. Jesus’ one desire was to save the human race—to save you and me—and it’s His wish that we be His hands and feet to take this good news to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

That’s what this season of Thanksgiving is all about: a heart full of gratitude, and a willingness to share the good news with others. And that’s our mission at AWR.

May God’s presence be with you during this season, and the joy of gratitude fill your heart.

Thank you for making a difference!

Yours in the Blessed Hope,

Duane McKey



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