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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Merry Christmas

"All the Christmas presents in the world are worth nothing without the presence of Christ." (quote from Crosswalk.com)  

As I was scrolling through the updates from my various friends on my media feed, I came across this quote and it kind of hit me.  I spent the afternoon with mom in the wheelchair, my daughter at my side, and the three of us just strolling a couple of the local stores for a few Christmas presents yesterday.  It wasn't a big deal, and we weren't like some of those crazy types of shoppers who were looking for the big bargains, willing to camp out at the wee hours of the morning to find that door-buster item.  We just went to have fun with each other, enjoy a little shopping for some specific items, and then see where the afternoon would take us.  As we luxuriated over a hamburger and fries for our late afternoon lunch, we just enjoyed each other's company.  I'd have to tell you there were a whole lot of people out there on "Black Friday" seeking those huge deals and willing to drive themselves crazy finding them.  Some of the best finds of our afternoon were the 2 for $1 Christmas cards my mom found at the local Dollar Tree for those she likes to send special cards to over the holidays.  They were usually over $3 a piece!  Now that is a bargain!  Yet, even with all the bargain hunting folks streaming in and out of the stores, one thing mattered the most - the three of us just hanging out at a leisurely pace and coming across the occasional "good deal".  

Love will never become obsolete. (I Corinthians 13:8 VOICE)

I'd have to say there is no greater gift this holiday season than the gift of God's grace - to know his peace and to personally experience his love is the greatest gift one can receive.  I also think it is the greatest gift one can "give" to another!  There are times when we are shy about sharing the hope within our own hearts - remember...you may never really know when someone will be ready to embrace the love God is so eager to give!  Love (especially God's love) will never become obsolete.  

On occasion, I have the rare treat of leaving work a couple of hours early, especially for a holiday weekend.  There are a whole lot of things I can do on those days, but this week I chose to come home.  It was a hard choice because I could also have spent it with my BFF and just hung out for a couple of hours at the mall - something I don't get to do as often as I like.  There was just something tugging at me that afternoon which called me home.  As I saw the delight on mom's face to see me home early and the enjoyment she took sitting watching me put up the Christmas tree, string it with the colored lights, and fill the boughs with ornaments galore, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be.  In those moments, love was shared - not because of any gift I could wrap, but because of the gift I could only give with my heart and with my "presence".  Such is the gift of Christmas - it isn't something wrapped under the tree, brightly colored paper and bow surrounding it, but the gift of God's blessed love and grace - given to us in the action of his Son's presence in our lives.

Love will never become obsolete - these are more than words - they are the actions of the cross over 2,000 years ago!  Do you know what obsolete means?  It is the idea of being effaced by wearing down or going away.  God's love is never wiped out by any action on our part, nor is it ever done away with by any action on his!  His love is never-ending and it is the true "gift that keeps on giving"!  We cannot find this gift in any local store, or online, or delivered to our front door.  We CAN find this gift in the heart of a friend who understands your decision to head home instead of going to the mall; the touch of the gnarled, arthritic hand of an aging mom as she strokes your hand just sitting there in the quiet of the evening; or the proud smile of excitement as your grandson displays his newest skill of riding the bike without his training wheels.  Yes, these are gifts we cannot ever replace - for they will never wear out!

My wish for you this Christmas season - to know the presence of God's love in your lives. May you find and enjoy his peace, live deeply in his love, and give generously of his grace as you have so generously received of his!  Just sayin...