The Best Christmas Gift of AllBy
We traveled with a friend who has battled her way back from cancer. So the trip was a victory celebration. And celebrate we did! Maybe a little too much?
When we got back though, reality hit as it does each week. I need to write something that will touch and help my readers. I thought what else could I write about Christmas that hasn’t already been written? What can I say that you haven’t already heard?
As much joy as I find in writing it’s a pressure that some days I would rather live without. This was one of those times.
I was catching up on my reading over the weekend and read a blogger I converse with from time to time, Alex Blackwell. He wrote a post about Christmas that touched my heart as he shared of his own struggles and what Christmas really means to him.
He wrote of his relationship with his wife. “We have spent 26 Christmases together, and for the first time I have found a gift I think she will appreciate the most. I found it by listening to the truth and not fear. I found it by learning that forgiveness is the right medicine for my soul.”
Then he went on to share about the gifts he could give to his wife of a smile, happiness and love.
It caused me to think about how blessed I am. A great wife, two fantastic kids, good health, a rewarding career, living in a free country, dear friends. And I thought that’s what Christmas is really about, remembering the gifts I already have. The multiple blessings, the joy I’m filled with and having the opportunity to share that with others.
As I thought about those gifts, I wanted to simply share that joy with you through this post. I realize not all who are reading these words are experiencing that this Christmas.
So often we get caught up in the crush of activities this time of year and miss the enjoyment.
Debate about whether to give gifts or not. And if we do what to give?
For some the remembrance of a loved one not here this year. And the resulting loneliness.
Christmas has so much pressure because in trying to make it special we can drive out all the joy. And at the end feel frustrated and exhausted. It’s fascinating that a holiday celebrating the greatest event in history should also be the season of the greatest incidence of emotional depression. Somehow we’re missing the point.
What’s the answer?
As I reread the story of that night 2000 years ago it gave me some clues.
The angels appeared to a group of shepherds and told them the good news of Jesus’ birth. Then finished by saying, “Don’t be afraid (easy for them to say). I bring you good news of great joy for all people.”
Then the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those upon whom God’s grace rests.”
The shepherds, when they could speak again, responded, “Let’s go see what the angels spoke about.”
As I thought about this story again I realized Christmas mostly is about wonder. It’s about stopping from my activities long enough to ponder the greatest gift of all. A baby born 2000 years ago who came to give us life in all of its abundance. One who came, as my friend Alex wrote, to save us from our past and give us a joyous future. And as I stop and remember that it fills my heart with a joy and peace I can find nowhere else.
And instead of causing fear that fills me with confidence to say, “I want to see what this is all about. I want to experience the richness of life God has in store for me. I want to witness his miracles.”
That unleashes a new attitude that isn’t satisfied with the mediocre. I want all God has for me. I want his promises played out through my life.
And the more I focus on that my life takes on a different quality. It’s no longer about how I can just get more. But my thoughts turn toward, “How can I be the husband Jennifer needs? How can I be the father my children want? How can I share with others around me the gifts I’ve been given?”
That brings rewards of fulfillment and blessing nothing else can.
Then we experience the promise of the angel to Mary when he announced she would bear a child miraculously.
“Nothing is impossible with God.”
So I stop and absorb the wonder of it all this Christmas. Tasting the promise of real life and the joy that flows out of it.
I wish for you the same.