December is here, Christmas is coming, and it’s time to pull out all of those Rubbermaids filled with red and green and silver and gold.
If you are an early shopper like I try to be, it also means that you have probably already begun the shopping frenzy for gifts.
And the budget never seems to be enough, does it?
As I unpack the boxes that have been stored for 11 months, I am reminded that the memories I treasure are far more valuable than any gift that is exchanged.
A puzzle picture that my father-in-law put together.
A special ornament from a snaggle-toothed first grader.
A nativity set purchased on a trip to Israel.
And Christmas quilts… lovingly sewn one stitch at a time.
While most years we can barely remember what was given the year before, we hold very dear to our heart the memories of Christmas past:
Bright-eyed children waking Mom and Dad with excited shrills and anxious hands, ready to rip open that first present.
The telling of the Christmas story while bright eyes and tender hearts take it all in.
Cinnamon rolls for breakfast and family meals around the table–
and birthday cake to celebrate the birthday of the King.
Exchanging gifts and waiting for that element of surprise and awe…
Being deeply grateful for the blessings of faith, family, friends.
Thanksgiving is barely past and yet, not coincidence, a powerful prerequisite in preparation for Christmas.
Jesus IS the gift.
And unwrapping the gifts of mercy and grace and love and forgiveness are unmerited acts of God’s favor.
This thankfulness that precedes our giving of gifts may very well be the catalyst for unwrapping the very best Christmas.
One of love and laughter and joy and good cheer.
And perhaps the gift of forgiveness.
Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful. Colossians 3:12-16
We can give because we are blessed. Not because it is deserved,
The unwrapping of Christmas began with a babe in swaddling clothes,
And The Giver just keeps on giving.