December is always a whirlwind of planning, prepping, and sometimes puzzled as to what gifts to buy. Fortunately I don’t have an extremely long list, but I do try to buy gifts that have purpose and meaning. And, no, I’m not one of those who buy gifts early and store them away. I would inevitably spend far more money than I should because I would forget those stowed away purchases.
Our gift giving at Christmas is in direct relation to the gifts that the Wise Men brought Jesus upon his birth. For centuries now people all over the world have held this time honored tradition of gift giving. But have you ever considered the gifts you are born with, or the gifts given to us from God.
Far too often the gifts we unwrap on Christmas morning are long forgotten by the time the New Year rolls around. So what are some lasting gifts that can make a difference?
The best gifts we can give are learning to use the spiritual gifts that are born within us. The blessings we can share with others with these special gifts are abundant. But we have to use these gifts for them to mean anything. If we don’t learn to use them, then we have nothing to share. Maybe the best gift we can give this year is to discover these God-given gifts and use them to honor the Christ Child.
Linda Douty in her book, Rhythms of Growth has some great thoughts on cultivating our gifts during this holy season.
- Kindness — We can shower others with affirmation, encouraging the flickering candle of their best selves to burn more brightly.
- Patience — We can be more tolerant when things go awry.
- Peace — We can fill the atmosphere with our own sense of peace, a calm amid the chaos, so that it summons the peace of others.
- Goodness — We can focus on the positives, rather than the faults, of those around us.
- Generosity — We can give our full attention to each person, one at a time, not omitting even the most troublesome.
- Self-control — We can commit ourselves to no outbursts, no irritating reports.
- Faithfulness — We can be true to the blessed values of the Christmas season.
- Joy — We can be the source of smiles, laughter, and appreciation.
- Love — We can sift every thought, word, and action through the filter of “Is it loving?”
Merry Christmas to you and yours…and may all your Christmas wishes come to life!
God, here we are caught up in the midst of this season we call Advent…a season of hope, peace, love and joy.
A season that is high and holy…a season steeped in expectation and promise…a season where we mark our days and remember how God sends to us a Savior, a baby nonetheless…to unite us and free us from that which keeps us from being what God intended.
It’s a season that reminds us to lay down our fluffed-up selves and humble ourselves before the Savior of the World..born in a stable…where the animals moved over to make room for this divine moment to happen.
This Advent season is a time for us to not only remember but to also journey with Mary and Jospeh, to wake-up with the Shepherds and hear the Angels sing…to consider once more what this gift, this baby born in a manger means to us…today, tomorrow…for a lifetime.
May this Advent season be filled with a peace that passes all understanding…may our hearts be filled with joy that overflows to those around us…may we know that hope is possible…and may we become the very essence of love that God so sweetly gave to each of us in the gift of God’s Son.
Bless us in our gathering with friends and family…guide us in our travels to and fro…and lead us to those unexpected places…equip us to push past our own comfort to seek and find all of those we are called to love. Empower us with a supernatural strength to be your people, who look east and west, north and south…sharing the message of the Angels; glory to God in the highest…and may we know peace and goodwill to all people.
Bring us to our knees, as we bow before this newborn King. As we sing our songs and share our gifts, stir in us a newness of life. And on Christmas morning may we rejoice with world; Joy to the World…the Lord has come! Let it be so…amen.