Growing up, Christmas was a magical time for us (me & 3 brothers). We didn’t have a lot of money, but every Christmas magic happened. We would spend the day before Christmas shopping for trees. I had no idea why we waited so long. I do now. I always thought it was because nothing was ever done before Christmas. Dad would put the lights in the window but we never had a tree or saw any presents before Christmas morning. All I knew was going to bed and waking up and finding the tree up, lights turned on, train running, and stacks of gifts under the tree. Well…not stacks, but enough to be magical.
Officially, Christmas is this Tuesday. For many of you, Christmas began weeks ago. Office parties. Family get-togethers. Shopping. Advent calendars. School parties. Gift exchanges. And for many of you, Tuesday won’t be the end of it either. The gift-giving might go on for several more days, even weeks. The question that may be asked more than any other is “did you get what you wanted?” Every Christmas has its draws. Tickle Me Elmo. Beanie Babies. Cabbage Patch dolls. Pound Puppies. Bey Blades. Some type of electronic toy. The list is endless.
I read about a boy who really wanted a watch for Christmas. He was bugging his parents about a watch and driving them nuts over it. They finally told him to quit bugging them.
One night his parents asked him to lead in prayer at the dinner table and he said, “I’d like to quote a Scripture verse before I pray. Mark 13:37 says, ‘I say unto you what I have already told you before-watch…’”
He was resourceful if nothing else. But that brings up exactly what I am trying to say. We often focus on certain gifts, and are even disappointed if we don’t get them. We will spend a lot of time looking for that “perfect” gift for someone, looking for that huge bargain, that one gift which says it all.
There are gifts that really matter though. This is what I hope you find (discover) this year for you and your family:
The gift of forgiveness. Much happiness and joy is lost because we either don’t have it or can’t give it.
The gift of peace of mind. True peace cannot and will not be found in temporary things. It won’t be found in escapes. I pray you will find peace in freedom from guilt, grief, and grudges.
The gift of eternal life. No greater gift can be found. John 3:16 is the consummate Christmas verse (IMHO).
I will be sharing this Christmas list Sunday morning as well. It is my wish for you. It is my wish for the people I pastor. I pray you will have a time of celebration and discovery.