Proverbs 18:16 ” A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.” NIV
Is there ever a time when we are not trying to reach some imaginary goal we have set for ourselves? Do we ever find that place where we can say that we “have arrived”? I think, more than anytime of the year, we place the biggest burden on ourselves at Christmas. There is some unspoken, unconscious need to buy things we don’t need, give things people don’t need, to try to make up for every real and unreal expectation that people had for us that we perceive we didn’t meet. We must out-volunteer, out-cook, out-buy, out-do everyone else, lest they think that we are uncharitable, a scrooge, or just plain selfish.
I came across this picture this morning. I don’t know who took it or where it came from originally. I was looking on my phone just after waking up, reading the latest from my children, when I saw this on a friends facebook site. It made me laugh out loud which is a good thing early in the morning. I thought of how we are often either one extreme or the other. I have pondered today how to be a happy medium. It just seems so hard in these days of give more, buy more, have more, be more.
Last night, one of our daughters had a request that stunned me in it’s simplicity. Instead of gifts for her newborn, who has 6 sets of grandparents and wants for nothing, she would like donations to be made to the wounded warrior fund. I must admit I was speechless. And a bit ashamed. I have done nothing lately except think of things I need to buy or things I want people to buy me. When in reality, our children have all they need. Our grandchildren have more than they need. We have so much, we need another place to store the stuff we don’t need.
Truly I don’t need anything. I don’t want for anything. I don’t have to have anything. My Adonai has blessed me with so much and more than I ever asked for or didn’t ask for. A beautiful family. A loving husband. Friends who make me laugh. A church that brings me close to God each and every time I visit. Freedom to do anything I have ever wanted to do and more than I ever can do.
If you do nothing else today, I pray that you will watch this video. It brought my heart to my throat this morning. I have been struggling with the fact that my family is once again going to be overbuying, over-giving, over-wanting, over-everything. When the Lord pointed out to me that there are so many who have nothing, I came to my knees in sorrow for my selfishness. When I saw the joy on the face of a child who got just one shoe box of things that most of us would consider “dollar store” items, I was humbled. I can’t even remember the last time I saw that kind of joy on the faces of my family. If you ask my children which Christmas they remember best, it never is the one where they got so much. It’s the one where we gave Christmas away to a family who had lost everything.
Yes, my grandchildren will get toys for Christmas. Yes there will be laughter and joy all around at our house on the morning of Christ’s birth. There is nothing more heartwarming than the face of a child when they are surrounded by the warmth and magic of a family Christmas. But my prayer and yes, my goal this year, is to be the one to break the chain of over indulgence that lies within our family. I want to teach my grandchildren that Christmas isn’t about what you can get but what you can give. I know, with God’s guiding hand, that I can teach my grandchildren that Christmas isn’t Christmas unless you give it away. God gave us His Son on Christmas day. It was His ultimate gift to us. Let the joy on my face and the faces of my family on Christmas morning reflect that ultimate gift.
Dearest Father God, help us to be mindful this Christmas season that it is about you, not about us. It is about the gift of Your Son. It is about the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide our every move. Every good thing we have is a gift from You. I pray for Your comfort for those who are in need. Not only around the world but outside our very doorstep. Let us search out with every fiber of our being, the person that needs You. You sent Your son to save the world. Thank You. May our day be blessed by Your Love. In Christs name we pray, Amen