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Best Gift

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Best Gift

’Twas the night before Christmas — and all the gifts were wrapped and under the tree. Uh oh. Maybe not, but if they haven’t gotten there yet, hopefully, they soon will be! And be wrapped in the perfect paper with beautifully tied ribbon. Okay—at least, wrapped.

The shopping is done. The decorating is, too. All those decisions that have culminated in the finished effort to ensure a joyous Christmas again this year—they, too, are in place. What remains is only to savor the moment with friends and family, eat the specially baked goodies that you wouldn’t go near under ordinary circumstance, and open gifts. 

The Best Gifts Aren’t Necessarily Under The Christmas Tree.

When you think about it, what would you say makes a good gift? Maybe the best gift?

Either in giving or receiving? It’s fun to reflect on those gifts that perhaps should have been more romantic than practical (like the electric knife instead of a strand of pearls my husband gave me the first year we were married). Or gifts you’ve given to someone less fortunate than yourself, or handmade ones you’ve received from a child. 

Gifts run the gamut from precious to plain, from expensive to free. What about priceless gifts—the ones you didn’t deserve? Unexpected. Unmerited. I’m thinking of the unspeakable gift of life itself, freedom, grace, mercy.

I mailed a bunch of cards yesterday. Yes, some Christmas cards, but also 3 sympathy cards, a couple of birthday cards, and some thank you notes. That sort of covers the categories: experiences of life with ongoing birthdays, the celebration of the Christ-child— the One who came that we might have abundant life (John 10:10), and gratitude for whatever has come my way, whether deserved or underserved. And expressions for the loss of a loved one —death. Even as many of us are finding reasons for rejoicing, others may not. Gifts come in many forms, as we know. Maybe a phone call in the midst of the hustle and bustle to an acquaintance will be this season’s best gift.

With Our Stocking Hung

Ever wonder where the poem “Twas The Night Before Christmas” originated? It’s one of the oldest and most popular Christmas poems ever written. It dates back to the early 19th century and was first published on December 23, 1823, in the Troy Sentinel newspaper in upstate New York. Although its author is disputed, both Clement Clarke Moore and Henry Livingston Jr. claimed to have written it. 

Guess we’ll never know for sure about the author, but certainly, the poem has piqued the expectancy in the hearts of children through the years. It’s funny now to recall the suspense—or outright fear!— of getting sticks (or a lump of coal) instead of the gift I’d asked for. I must have known I deserved far less than what I hoped for. 

Thankfully, as far as eternity is concerned, we as believers in Jesus Christ don’t get what we deserve. Life is eternal. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us . . .”     Ephesians 3:20

Gift Scales: Weights and Measures

May this Christmas be one of adding more memories to those already accumulated through past years. May you find the kind of gift that makes it to the Best Gift List— if there is such a thing.

Whether you’re thrilled with a special gift or underwhelmed one, been given a lasting gift or having given an oh-so-practical one, rejoice. Chances are none of them will be remembered this time next year anyway. When all the wrappings are in a heap on the floor, that’s when it becomes clear: the best gifts are about something much deeper than the contents of the box.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

Have a blessed Christmas and may you see God’s gracious hand on your life, now and down through the generations.

Questions For Table Talk at Christmas Dinner

  1. Who has made traditions a significant part of Christmas for you and why?
  2. What has been a favorite Christmas gift?
  3. What is a Christmas memory that makes you smile?
  4. Where did your first memory of Christmas take place and what was it? 
  5. What does Christmas mean to you?

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