Updated: Apr 6, 2019
It’s here again… “the most wonderful time of the year!” Or so the song says. Truthfully, I haven’t been very excited about the Christmas gift-giving tradition this year. Considering the flurry & intensity of the past 12 months, considering the life-altering changes, considering the trials—it’s not all that important to me. If you & I haven’t connected somehow on a deeper level, if we haven’t had any “straight from the heart” conversations…exchanging gifts would simply be more obligatory in nature. Without a soul connection, giving feels sort of empty. For me anyway.
It’s easy for anyone to see that money takes an even greater step up, to front & center stage, especially during the months of November & December. In our country, we clearly define status based on money. We label folks, relegating them to upper, middle, lower, or poverty classes. We draw private conclusions & assumptions about someone, based on the house they live in or the car they drive or, even the clothes they wear. We forget, not to judge a book by its cover. In theory, we say money doesn’t matter. But practically, I dare say that it’s the #1 link/ tie-in, to most conversation, one way or another. People generally fall into 1 of 2 categories. They’re either trying to find ways to stretch the money they have, or they’re trying to invest their excesses, to make more of it.
In all the world, there is only ONE FOREVER GIFT. It can’t be bought or sold because it’s truly priceless. You can’t save for it. Nor can you charge it on a credit card & pay monthly installments. In fact, all the money in the world can’t buy it! It meets, & exceeds, every soul need/desire known to man…for eternity! It has a beginning, but it knows no end. And it’s FREE, without a pre-qualifying application to receive the benefits, because the GIVER (God) shows no partiality. Though every human being is born naturally fallible, redemption in Christ Jesus is God’s gift – a loving, justifying act of His grace… to all who’ve sinned. (Romans 3:23&24) That would be us. This Provision is the only gift that moth and rust can’t destroy & where thieves can’t break-in & steal. (Matthew 6:20)
This year we changed up our traditional decorating schedule, & everything was completed by Thanksgiving. (Amazing feeling!) It made for a less stressful entry into the holiday season & we are now able to enjoy the fruits of our labor, a little longer. As a result, I’ve had ample time to ponder the history of our decorations, both inside & out. It’s the heart connections, the relationships, that mean the most to me. First & foremost, nothing would mean anything, without knowing Jesus Christ as my Life. Secondly, although our family is changing & growing older, I appreciate the foundation that our traditions have built, especially when intimacy is harder to maintain because of time & distance. I also love the annual “repeats” of favorite Christmas movies, decorated cookies, & light rides with a hot drink. Then there’s our tree ornaments, prompting memories & telling stories at a glance. I’ll randomly remember times & places, and the significance of why an ornament was made or purchased. This is the stuff that feeds my soul & sometimes brings tears. In the long run, I’d rather have intimate, lasting memories- for life, than to receive a gift because someone felt like Christmas demanded it. After all, it is the way of the Father, to create the desire, in us, for intimacy with Him. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor 9:15)