Friday, December 19, 2014

"The Bestest Gift" - 12/19/14 - Titus 1-3

"It wasn't so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back.
But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in,
He saved us from all that.
It was all His doing; we had nothing to do with it.
He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by The Holy Spirit.
Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously.
God's gift has restored our relationship with Him and given us back our lives.
And there's more life to come - an eternity of life!
You can count on this."(3:3-8)
How easily we can get distracted from what Christmas is really all about.  How easily we become caught up in the commercialism, the busyness, the "keeping up with the Jones". 
Years ago, when the boys were little, we decided to cut back on the gifts from the world and focus on the gift of Christ.  Each of us received three gifts, using the number of gifts Christ received from the Wise Men.  As far as I can tell, the boys survived this practice we embraced long ago and continue to carry on, without any life threatening scars. We have begun each Christmas morning in a prayer circle and then listening to Curt read the account of our Savior's birth from Scripture.  It is a tradition we started and I pray will continue on in the homes of our sons when they begin to have their own Christmas mornings. 
We began the tradition of centering this time of year on and around Him.
As the boys have become young men and our family has been blessed with "our Amber", upon the day  Nichalas took her as his bride, it has become even more difficult to come up with ideas for gifts.  Last year we gave money, which I folded origami style, inserted into items I had made from card stock.  Adam needed new clothes, so I painted a dinner setting on a small rectangle and folded a shirt and tie, a pair of pants and placed them in with a local restaurant gift certificate.  Money for Nichalas/Amber's new couch went into a small replica I made, folded into pillows and a dress, shoes, etc. I had placed in the "cushions".  It dressed the gift of money up into something fun to unwrap. 
This year my gift to the family was an all day activity for us to attend.  It didn't work out due to the schedules of the five of us.  Perhaps next year.  I could easily get upset.  I could become frantic wondering what gift will I get them now.  How thankful I am He has transformed my heart from trying to celebrate, or rather endure, the way the world wants us to spend this season.  How blessed I am that this isn't robbing me of the joy in having all of our family home, together, celebrating Him. 
 I love how He is keeping me focused on the most important gift. 
The Gift of our Savior. 
"God's gift has restored our relationship with Him and given us back our lives.
And there's more life to come - an eternity of life!
You can count on this."

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