Have you been asked yet this year, ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ It may have been a more exciting question when you were 10 years old, when you could have probably come up with a long list, but what does it elicit in you now? Each year, my wife’s family does a couple of gift exchanges, and after drawing names this past week, I was struggling to come up with ‘things’ that I could put on my list. Truth be told, I already have more things than I need, and we have been trying to de-clutter for some time, so it sort of goes against what we are trying to accomplish as well. Regardless, I have come up with a few things I thought might enhance our lives instead of making them more stressful. Throughout your life, what have been the gifts you have appreciated the most?
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
Often kids focus on what they want, or can get, but this year, we have encouraged our children to come up with things they could find that some of their cousins might like for Christmas. We just find out what things they are interested in and come up with a few things they might like. Another thing that is fun to do is come up with some different things that some of my wife’s Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins might enjoy, and wrap those presents without putting who it was from on the package, just to see their reaction. As we get older, it is a little more fun giving good gifts to those we care about than getting what we had on our list. Maybe our wishlist changes a bit as we age too. Some of the things we want are not tangible like socks and tvs, but more about positive changes in our lives. We want our loved ones to make good choices with their relationships and careers, we desire to grow them to grow in their faith, and we would enjoy more quality time with those we care about. These are not always in our control to give, but tend to be more of what we desire than just things. How has your wish list changed over the years?
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48
When we look at the heart of Christmas, it is a celebration of the gift of Christ that God has given to us, and we remember that in the story of His birth. Each year, when the Word is read and we hear that story again, it still impacts me in different ways as I hear it. The many miracles it contains in where his family traveled, the animals, the angels, the impact He has had in this world and on us. Is a lot to take in. It is also a joy in sharing this story with young children, who might be hearing it for the first time, or come to understand the truth of Christmas behind all the decorations, commercialism, decorations, and traditions. There are good things and frustrations that go along with any celebration, but hopefully you still see the joys and small miracles that can be found as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. May we be willing to freely share as others discover that great gift for the first time as well!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17
Yours in Christ,