on Gifts

“God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861), British poet from the Victorian era

A few days ago I asked my friend Kathy for her recipe for buttermilk biscuits. She told me that I could find it in the Betty Crocker Big Red cookbook. When I explained to her that I did not have that, she surprised me a few days later not only with the recipe but a brand new Betty Crocker Big Red cookbook. Kathy didn’t just give me what I asked for, she gave abundantly more.

The giving of gifts during Christmas has been a tradition for many centuries. It was originally intended as a remembrance of the greatest of all gifts – God’s son Jesus. However, I have noticed that in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the sole purpose of why we celebrate is being forgotten. We are more focused on the gifts themselves instead of the purpose of the giving.

Giving generously is not about the cost of the gift, but the sacrifice of the giver. Knowing that someone does not have to do something for you, but does so anyway, is what changes a gift into something special.  What do the gifts you receive at Christmas mean to you? Will they be treasured as evidence of the love of those around you, or will they become just more stuff to add to your other stuff? Ask yourself this: do the ones you love want more stuff, or do they want more of you?

Perhaps we all should look long and hard at our life and see this Christmas as an opportunity to rearrange our priorities. Let’s spend less money and more time with those we love. Recapture the quiet serenity of the meaning behind the stable, the shepherds, and the little baby in a manger. Perhaps if we remember the purpose of Christmas – why Jesus had to be born in the first place – we may all be a little less stressed, a little less rushed, and experience a little more peace.

God wanted more of us, so He gave us the most generous gift He had. The evidence of the love of our Savior will always rest on the cross – the ultimate sacrificial gift from the One who loves us so unconditionally. Jesus chose not to give us stuff; He chose to give us Him. And when God decides to give something, He does not skimp.

Happy Birthday Jesus! Your gift will always be the best!

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger’.  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests’.” The Bible, in the Book of Luke, Chapter 2, verses 8-14

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