Christ has me in a unique situation this Christmas season, one I have never found myself in before. Basically being out of work, means I will not have the ability to purchase Christmas gifts for my family. While Christmas is not about gifts, picking out gifts for each of my nieces, nephews, and family, waiting in anticipation to give it to them, and then watching them open it, is special to me. I enjoy all of this more than opening any gifts I am given on Christmas. It is like my being able to love them in this way is a gift to me.
I can’t help but notice the timing of this, after spending more than seven weeks total in a third world country this year. So many of the people there do not get to shop for the perfect gifts for their family, wrap it with pretty paper and bow, and watch in anticipation as their family opens the gifts they picked out especially for each one. No, they are struggling to provide for their families each day. They may not be able to show their love through buying things, but there is no doubt in my mind that their families will still feel loved. In my experience with the people, they do not associate love with being given things, but by the time spent together and showing your love through action.
I don’t want to concentrate on what I cannot do this Christmas season, but what I can. I am going to take this opportunity to spend the time I would ordinarily be shopping for and wrapping gifts to instead be worshiping Jesus. I am going to spend extra time in the Word, and doing an advent devotional (the one I will be doing is free, and can be found here: https://dwynrhh6bluza.cloudfront.net/resources/documents/5544/DG_Advent_eBook_Final.pdf?1353696982).
Instead of showing my love to my family through buying gifts, I am going to show it through my time, my actions, and my words. On Thanksgiving I took each niece and nephew aside for a moment and gave them a hug and kiss, and told them each that I thank Jesus for them each and every day. Altering the previous balance by showing love more through time, actions and words versus gifts will in the long run be what resonates with them. Growing up my family always had a huge Christmas, including way more gifts than we ever needed, but I can’t tell you what I received for gifts for the most part. I can, however, remember encouragement that others have invested in me, encouragement that resonated with me.
“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.” Luke 2:8-20
I want my treasure, and the treasure of my family, not to be found in gifts but in Jesus Himself. I want our treasure to be pondered in our hearts, as it was with Mary. I want our treasure to be in His presence, His holiness, His love, and His sacrifice.