Monday, December 19, 2011

It's all about the presents!

My grandbaby

The sermon at our church yesterday was a bit unusual (which is actually not so unusual when Bob Hartman is preaching). Instead of focusing on the catchphrase "Jesus is the reason for the season," Bob talked about the giving of gifts. And he changed my point of view.

You see, I love giving gifts, but money's been a bit tight lately, so we're seriously cutting back this year. That's not a bad thing, mind you, because we all have way too much stuff. The problem here, though, is that I've been insisting that my oh-so-generous husband not buy me anything for Christmas. Insisting. There are a few different reasons for this -- the first one is obvious: money. But it goes beyond that. It's also about the time and stress of shopping and wrapping. I wanted to relieve him of that burden.

"Let's focus on the real meaning of Christmas instead of getting caught up in the craziness." (I refused to slip in the catchphrase I mentioned above, as I generally don't take too well to catchphrases ... I think they water down true meaning).

Anyway, as Bob pointed out in his sermon yesterday, I was wrong.

We were created to give. It is a trait inherent in most of us that brings us great joy. And he, and I, am not talking about exchanging lists, buying everything on the lists, wrapping it and handing it to the recipients. Where's the fun in that?

Have you ever surprised someone with a gift they simply love? Or with something they really wanted, but they didn't know you'd paid enough attention to know that? Don't you love the way their faces light up as they tear open the wrapping? What do you feel? Immense joy, right?

In my "I want to save you money, time and stress" approach, I was actually depriving my husband of something that gives him great pleasure. He loves to buy me gifts for Christmas. So guess what? Thanks to Bob's sermon yesterday, I'm okay with Bill buying me presents. More than okay with it. If it stresses him out a little, that's alright. The payoff will be worth it.

After all, Christmas is all about giving and receiving, isn't it? God gave us the gift of His Son ... and what an awesome gift it was. Can you imagine the great joy on God's face when we accepted the gift? When the gift brought us joy? Yeah, He was a happy Papa. As it says in one of my favorite books in the Bible,

"Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."

That's from somewhere in the first chapter of James. I have the whole chapter memorized, so without getting up and looking in my Bible, I'm not quite sure which verse it is.

So, yeah, it's all about the presents. While I didn't explain that concept as well as Bob did yesterday, I hope you still grasp what I mean.

And, on a side note on this common sense environmental blog -- Don't you love how God even taught us about repurposing when He directed Mary and Joseph to a stable where they place their newborn baby in a manger? A repurposed feed trough. Now that's awesome!

Wishing you the merriest week before Christmas,


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