Christmas Day is winding down and exhaustion is setting in. Last night after work, I just sat and shut off all the lights except for the Christmas tree. Now, I question myself why do I always wait so long to have it put up. It is so beautiful, not just because of the reflection of the lights off of the metallic bulbs, or that ornaments that my mom painted are proudly displayed at the top, but the fact that every decoration was hung by our incredible children.
Another main focus of the evening was the placing of our gifts under the tree. I knew that I had found some incredible items from “the lists” and Santa would take care of the rest (as well as Poppa and Nanny and Uncle Donnie and Aunt Kristin). But to be honest, I was excited to have a few under the tree for me. Most years, Jim and I do not exchange gifts as we buy things throughout the year. This year, we agreed to purchase some small items. Well, little did I know that Jim had already started a purchase earlier this year for a beautiful diamond wrap for my engagement ring/wedding band. I was pretty excited when I opened the box that was inside a box, inside a bigger box. They say diamonds are a girls best friend – not so much for me, but a gift of diamonds from MY BEST FRIEND = priceless! I also, within the last week, asked for an IPod to download podcasts and my husband and children blessed me with that as well – and my greater than 350 podcasts/sermons are loading as I type. Samuel is pretty entertaining on Christmas with the anticipation, the looking down the stairs when pitch black to declare Santa had been there, and then to open one gift and play with it for a bit while acting like no other gifts existed. At some points, we had to encourage him to keep opening them. Mary also opened the gifts and I think was surprised that I remembered things that she had requested throughout the year (her favorite gums, some movies, books, etc…). The opening of more gifts continued with Poppa/Nanny and Don/Kristen and Grandmother. More excitement… more joy… more “just what I wanted”. Sam has said “Merry Christmas” to me several times today and the hugs and lovings are in continual supply.
As Christmas ends and the gifts have been exchanged and opened, my mind thinks about the prospect of the New Year, and I am super excited. I feel like I am a different person internally this year. My heart is definitely more open and my mind is more focused on what matters in life. I also think about all the “perfect” gifts that I found this year and the satisfaction of the receivers of the gifts. But it makes me think of the gifts I should give year-round. Do I give them the best of me? My time? My undivided attention or continue to multi-task and half hear? Words of praise and gratitude or words in anger and frustration?
Today is the celebration of Jesus birthday and I think – what did I give Him and what could I give Him? Today, I gave Him praise and thanksgiving… I am also downloading only scriptural messages to learn more about Him. But really, He was born in a manger only to die for my sin! I am so sure it trumps my little prayer and praise today. So what is the perfect gift I can give Him for all He has given me? In the Bible, it was not uncommon to offer a sacrifice. We talked about this in Ladies Bible Study of how there were times people would just sin and expect a simple burnt offering enough coverage for the sin. In the Bible, there was also Wisemen who brought gifts to the Christ child. One of my favorite Christmas songs is the Drummer Boy and it talks about our finest gifts we bring… and the Little Drummer Boy had no gift to bring that was fit to give the King… So he asks Shall I play for you and Mary and the animals nodded – and the Drummer Boy played his best for Him.
So, what do I bring to Him on His birthday, or more importantly everyday?
- What is my offering?
- What is my sacrifice?
- Do I bring the best I have to offer Him, or do I consistently give Him my leftovers?
- Do I give him the first of my time or do I “squeeze” Him in where I can (and if I want)?
When I think of gifts, I think of beautiful wrapping.
- Do I bring it wrapped with a beautiful heart (I could easily focus on my outward appearance, but God looks at my heart)?
- Do I bring with a beautiful heart or out of obligation? I also think about the selection of the ‘perfect gift”.
For our children, I had to go out of the way for a few gifts (i.e. they do not sell Ultraman toys in Morgantown) and calculated the time it would take to get here and if the s/h was worth it.
- Do I spend that much time on the gift I bring to Christ?
- Do I plan it out or just rush through to give him some time and devotion?
- Do I just go through the motions or mean what I say/do?
I never really thought about Christmas this way, and it is probably because my heart was different this year. I do know that even Christmas Day changed me – I need to PREPARE TO BRING THE BEST… bring the best gift, the non-material kind! The best of me – my devotion, my time, my love, my words, etc… And well, I need to work on the wrapping too (my body/my health), but that is another blog! ( =
“Give freely to the world these gifts of love and compassion. Do not concern yourself with how much you receive in return, just know in your heart it will be returned.” – Steve Marboli