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Gift Giving…

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   With the increasing commercialization of Christmas–this year, with Black Friday now preceding Thanksgiving–a growing number of people are finding Christmas so secularized that it’s become distasteful. Some Christians even refuse to celebrate it at all.

   I’m not one of those.

   Some information and comments about Christmas (numbered, of course):

   (1)  First, it’s highly unlikely that Jesus was born on December 25. And not even in December. (The date of Jesus’ birthday, by the way, would make a good homeschool paper or project. Use the Internet.)

   (2)  Christmas is a great time to gather with families just for fellowship because society on the whole expects and accepts a “break” of sometime at this season of the year. Get ahead of the curve (next year) and plan how you and your family can best celebrate Christmas.

   Now to the main point, giving gifts:

   (3)  Whether you voice it every time or not, Give any gifts in the name of Jesus Christ, in memory or honor of, His precious gift to us:

     Forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation.

God gave a us gift–His Son’s life; we give gifts to others in honor of the package He wrapped and delivered to us. We’re dealing with a metaphor here–a powerful one with many implications¹: one of which is that, to be more specific, His gift with our name on it is waiting under our tree, but it must be claimed and unwrapped to be received. When Christmas is over, the tree and all that goes with it disappears.

   (4)  We can make gifts of ourselves to others, saying why. (I’ll let your mind run with that, with no more details…)

   (5)  Gifts, in Jesus’ name, can be made of time. This certainly isn’t a new idea to many…but it is to some who are used to be on the receiving end of things. “Behind” the joy of Christmas celebration there are many “elves” that make everything possible for others to sit back and soak things up. Some, without spouses or children underfoot (been there, done that, so to speak) can, as an unexpected volunteer, be there in the kitchen, behind the wheel, or on clean-up detail, so the day after Christmas can comfortably arrive. Also, in the name of Jesus, you can lend your ears².

   (6)  Gifts. Often of unexpected–unearned–”things.” And often bringers of joy, peace, and hope.

   (7)  And it took the Bible to unveil the greatest gift of all.

Merry Christmas!

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   ¹ In the new day of increasing pressure to eliminate anything that might be found offensive, and punishable, especially on privileged³ university campuses, one wonders if the public giving of gifts might become considered offensive because it puts forward in a “public forum” the unique religious notion of Jesus’ death on the cross so that others might give only believers in Him eternal life. If you hear this again, remember you heard it here first.

   ² This reminds me of the one-table, one-guest (me) birthday “party” I gave my mother when she turned 100. (By that time, I was the only one she consistently knew.) I flew down to the nursing home in Florida (where she insisted years earlier that she go when it was needed), and sat with her at her table with 6 other women. She loved this. I made a sign to put by our plates: “Eleanor is 100 today,” that I would off and on remind her of, with others at the table overhearing. “Today,” I announced, “my mother Eleanor is 100.” A cranky and wrinkled fellow diner across the table zeroed in on me: “Well, I’m 104 and nobody gives a damn.”

   ³ Maybe “privileged” needs to be redefined, or dropped when applying to elitist education altogether.