Love Christmas, especially giving gifts. Five years ago as my wife
and I were enjoying our first Christmas together, I remember how good it
felt to express my love by offering things that I knew would be special
to each of us. To this day we look upon the ring that was too expensive
for me to spend money on with great fondness. Each year I seem to go overboard,
and though it always hurt the pocket book, it made me smile inside that
I could give physical tokens of my love to those I cared deeply for.
As we near our Sixth Christmas together, we have the beautiful privilege of spending it with our two sons, Antonio and Rocky. Only this year it's different. Unlike the past years where we were poor, but still spent money we shouldn't have spent, this year we don't even have that luxury to spend money we shouldn't. As you might imagine I was bitter for a few days, upset that I could not give the gifts that I wanted so dearly to give. I sometimes cry out to God, wondering where the mercy of his blessings are. As I was praying the other day, the Lord asked me in that precious internal audible voice, "Why is it I love to give?" My reply was immediate, "because I love to know that even when I have little, I can sacrifice to show my affection towards others." His next question brought me nearly to tears. "Don't you have affection towards me?" The full weight of this question hit me heavily in my heart. I realized that my whole life I have given gifts, but never thought about my gifts to God. This Christmas, as my family will spend most of December 25th in the International House of Prayer, I realized that this is bound to be the most wonderful Christmas ever. For this Christmas, my family and I will give the ultimate gift of sacrifice to Christ Jesus. Both of us have offered our gift of servitude, as we left our jobs to adore the Beauty of Christ, and Intercede for you and the Nations. We have given the gift of sacrifice, as I left what was beginning to become a good prospective career in the Christian Music field, to worship with the Saints at the foot of the Throne.
Even as I write this, and ponder all that we have given, the good gifts of our hearts to Christ Jesus, I know it is not enough. Still I long to give more. But I will always remember Christmas 2000, as the year that my family and I gave the sweetest of all gifts, the gift of sacrifice and intimacy with our Lord and Saviour.
What Christmas Means to Us
Many people, especially pastors and leaders talk about this season as the time of giving. While there is no doubt this time of year we receive the good gifts of love from each other, and honor the good gift of Christ, I believe this time of year is more importantly about sacrifice and adoration.
The Virgin Mary
As we focus on the birth of Jesus, let's not forget the goodness of His mother Mary, and her gift of sacrifice for all mankind. When Dixie and I were called by God to come down to Kansas City and become a part of the International House of Prayer, it was my mother who held a special position of Intercession. Naturally in her flesh, she thought it was a terrible idea. She was losing her son, daughter, two grandkids, and knew that we would not have the financial security we did back home. However she allowed herself to surrender to the spirit and seek God in wisdom and counsel. In her doing so, she has been the greatest of all Prayer Warriors, and most wonderful Counselor and Supporter of our walk in faith with Jesus Christ. Pondering this, I can't help but think about the Goodness of Christ's Mother. As I see my mom sacrifice, I can only imagine how the Blessed Virgin sacrificed trying to raise the son she knew would be redeemer of the nations. What she must have endured even in the birth of Christ. Just as Mary is a great image of the Church, this Christmas think of the sacrifice, and the gift that came from it. She is a great example of how we too are called to surrender to the Holy Spirit, allowing God to impregnate us with His divine and perfect will, thus bestowing upon us gifts and treasures of His heart within our lives.
Christ's Suffering in Birth
We are familiar with talk of Jesus' sufferings in
His death, but even in His birth He endured a special suffering that became
the Gift of life for mankind. Before Christ became flesh, He dwelt in heavenly
glory. He shared intimate communion in a divine and unique way with the
Father and the Spirit. The Gospel of St. John tells us He was the very
WORD of God. Jesus, son of God, sacrificed that special place in Heaven,
because He desired intimate relationship with YOU. When Jesus died on the
cross He rent the veil of the temple, revealing the Holy of Holies to all
of mankind, bridging the spiritual void between us and His Father.
Yet Even in His birth a miraculous victory took place. He defeated the barrier of sinful flesh, paving the way for a Holy and perfect God to dwell among His people, renting the veil of mankind through the very birth of His virgin mother. When Christ was born blood and water poured forth, breaking the flesh, and renting the veil of sin that was found in our sinful human nature. Even in His birth, Jesus became victory. His death on the cross became the Seal of that miracle found in His birth, forever allowing the great gift of His sacrifice to be received by all the Earth.
My Gift to You
So as Dixie, Antonio, and Rocky and I gather together this Christmas before the very Throne of God, our Gift of Sacrifice and Prayer is our special Gift to each and every one of you. May you share in the Blessings of our Servitude before Christ, as we lift each and every one of your names in Love and Thanksgiving to our Great God who has revealed to us the ultimate Christmas Gift. What is the Ultimate Christmas Gift? Oddly enough it is not just the Birth of Jesus Christ, it is OUR GIFT OF INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BLESSED TRINITY. So this Christmas when you try thinking of that perfect gift, remember the most perfect gift you can give, is your heart, and your intimate time of devotion with your Father in Heaven who dearly loves you.
Nicholas, Dixie, Antonio, Ryan (Rocky), and Small One Canuso. :-)
May God Bless you and your family this Christmas
Dixie and I need your Help! As we struggle from month to month to pay
rent $550, Utilities, Avg. $180 and Groceries plus Gas, $200 we still have
several other financial obligations such as insurance, health, clothes,
appliance repair (broken washing machine etc.) Please feel free to send
whatever God has placed in your heart. We only ask for $30 dollars as a
monthly support goal to budget off of. Any amount is greatly appreciated.
If you would like to make a special emergency gift to us directly, (we would receive it before Christmas) you can make a check out directly to us and mail it to
12616 Jackson #A
Grandview Mo. 64030
You can support us by sending your Monthly $30 dollar checks to:
International House of Prayer
co: Nicholas Canuso
PO BOX 832
Grandview, Mo 64030
Make Checks Payable to INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PRAYER
NICHOLAS CANUSO must be placed in the Memo section of your check.
If my name is not included I will not receive your support
(any denomination of dollar amounts is accepted, either
higher or lower.
please understand we felt it was best to budget off of the average
$30 monthly support)
For those of you who have been sending checks to A
World of Love Ministries please make appropriate changes and send your
money to the above address including Nicholas Canuso in the memo. We apologize
for this inconvenience. We hope to be able to re-establish our previous
arrangements, however we need a special financial blessing to go separately
to this Ministry in order to complete necessary legal arrangement. For
those interested in making a one time gift towards A World of Love Ministries
please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
> You are receiving this e-mail because your address has
either been given to us, or was forwarded by another person, to be removed
please reply with Remove in the Subject column. Please feel free to forward
this e-mail to those whom you think would appreciate information on the
International House of Prayer. >Nicholas
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