I sit in my chair, laptop in lap, noticing some changes taking place in my living room. To my left is the piano which usually holds the latest pictures of the kids and grandkids. Tonight they have been moved to make room to display a collection of Christmas snowmen. They all look happy as they do their job of just sitting there, helping us get ready for Christmas Day.
To my right is a display of Santa Claus figures, also brightening the room with smiles and dreams of the season. This collection has come from numerous places and people, and they annually bring fond memories of Christmas past. I like looking at the Santa figures and noticing how big are their smiles.
Soon the living room will be adorned with packages wrapped in bright colorful paper and adorned with ribbons and bows. Gift bags will also be in their places, each bearing the name of one of the kids or the grandkids.
Then there are the stockings, traditionally filled with smaller gifts for everyone. There will be plenty of candy in each one, small and insignificant but usable trinkets, and maybe a lottery ticket. Even PD looks forward to his stocking filled with dog treats.
I like giving and often find myself wishing I could give more. But I know each gift I give is received with the same love as it was given. Our hearts and minds are never focused on the abundance of things, but on the opportunity to share and be together.
To top off all that, we will be blessed by sharing a nice meal, again, being thankful for the chance to be together, enjoying the visit and the celebration.
Think with me about the season and your family's traditional celebrations. I am blessed to have come from a Christian home, and have never lived outside a Christian environment. I cannot fathom what it must be like to celebrate Christmas in a non-Christian home. The joy would be gone. The main focus would be on the accumulation of "stuff." Even the togetherness would lose its magic. We do live in a world that prioritizes the material and minimizes the spiritual. Sadly, we see this more and more at Christmas.
The gift of the Christ-child for mankind is our pattern for the holiday of giving, sharing, caring, and real living. He brings us great examples of the right way to live, while taking each step of his earthly life toward a death which gives us life eternal. That is God's gift to each of us.
Our Christian lives are evidence that this gift from heaven, given to us by God's love and grace, is greater than any gift we can give or receive on Christmas Day. I encourage you to make your plans for friends and family this holiday season. Enjoy the time of sharing. Experience the joy that Jesus brings.