Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Week 2

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Hubby and I accomplished a flurry of Christmas shopping on Monday, both in stores, and online. Now I know what they mean by Cyber-Monday. That was us! It got me thinking about gifts again (gifts are never far from my mind, anyway, you know). I know I've said this before, but no one has ever given me a satisfying answer, so I'll say it again: at Christmas, we're celebrating Jesus' birthday, so how come we get all the gifts? I don't believe that I've ever gotten a gift on any of my children's birthdays, even though it probably is more appropriate to give gifts to the mother on those days, don't you think? I've never gotten a gift on Lincoln's birthday, or MLK's birthday. I've never gotten a gift for anyone else's birthday...unless you count Brandi, Karen, and George H.W. Bush, who happen to share my birthday.

So what are you going to give Jesus for His birthday this year?

Well, when I give a gift to someone, I think carefully about what I know about that person--their likes and dislikes, what they've said and done, and then I try to figure out what they might like as a gift, based on that information.

Let's see...

Jesus healed the sick--we can donate to charities like the American Cancer Society, donate vaccines through organizations like Samaritan's Purse, or volunteer at a hospital or for meals on wheels

Jesus fed the hungry--we can donate food or volunteer at a food shelf, or serve a meal in a shelter, or prepare meals to be sent to hungry children elsewhere

Jesus gave sight to the blind--we can donate eyeglasses to the Lions Clubs to be used again

Jesus urged us to care for orphans and widows--we can take care of their children while women who have fled abusive situations take parenting or job skills classes, give clean blankets to people who are homeless, or adopt a child through Compassion International or World Vision

Jesus freed us from our prison of sin--we can live a life of gratitude, so that grace and Christ-love ooze out of our very being into the world

Hmmm. Seems like, what Jesus really wants for His birthday this year, and every year, is for us to be His hands and feet in the world.

Don't get me wrong--I love gifts, both giving and receiving--any occasion will do. But I think that most of us have lost sight of why we're celebrating. It's become, for many of us, all about the gifts. It's tradition. It's expected. Feelings will be hurt if we don't come through with gifts in the way that we always have before. And that is so far from what Christmas should be. True to form, we humans have sinfully distorted yet another beautiful gift that God has given us.

I guess the take-away message here is, in your Christmas celebrations this year, please be deliberate in everything you do--be sure that all of your actions and thoughts are holy and pleasing to the One whom we celebrate. Be sure that everything you do and say in this season is done and said not for man, but for God.

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