Do you remember what you got for Christmas last year? How about Five years ago? Twenty? Most of the people in the group I was presenting too could not remember. Suddenly my husband says he remember what he got twenty years ago…dirt bikes. Why could he remember this? Because it was something he really wanted and it brought him continual joy. Most of the gifts we get at Christmas we like, however the impact is not great enough for us to remember exactly what we got only a year later.
Okay, let’s try another approach. On a scale of 1-10 how stressful is Christmas? If you have small children the number can go past 10. I remember my kids growing up and I used to get so jealous of Santa. Why? Because mom and dad were only known to get PJs and a Disney movie while the big guy dressed in red with his 8 tiny reindeer got the credit for the rest of the treasures under the tree. Gift upon gift which took every bit of money we had for the month of December. The all night wrapping gala followed by the 5am wake up call from the patter of excited feet pronouncing that Santa had come!
Let us look at the word gift for a moment and get its’ definition. Websters dictionary defines gift as a thing given away to someone without payment; present. Pretty basic, we buy ,we give and someone receives. So why does it seem like Christmas has lost its’ joy?
Alright, next question. Can you remember a Christmas Season where someone went out of their way bless you? I have lots of examples from food baskets to shoveling my driveway but my favorite story is a particular Christmas where things were really tight. Bills had piled up as my ex-husband at the time was not working and his actions had caused us to be in a pretty sad situation.
Christmas was always our time to kinda spoil our children and being so low on finances meant it was going to be a pretty disappointing Christmas morning to say the least. But the God I serve always finds a way to change the bad into good and while I was working at McDonald’s one day a lady came through the drive thru and handed me $350 in gift cards. I was just moved to tears. It truly was an act of charity that meant the world to me and my family.
So let us define the word blessing just so we can get a clearer picture of what I am trying to convey. Webster’s says that a blessing is God’s favor and protection. With that being the case, which scenario is the true representation of Christmas? Giving a gift or a being blessing? I know for me it was the more memorable one of the blessing our family received. Even though my kids didn’t see a difference under the tree, I knew in my heart that we had been truly blessed that year.
So I encourage all of us this year to think more deeply about our giving. Will the gift you are buying only satisfy a one time need or is it a blessing so that someone will see the goodness of God?
Dear Lord, Help us today to be mindful of the true meaning of Christmas. It’s not about the gift, it’s about the heart and conveying Your love to people. Teach us the right ways to show the blessing of the holiday season. Help us to remember that Jesus is the true reason for celebrating. Amen