Monday, December 22, 2014
You all may have gift giving traditions in your family. We do. The whole family – all 20 of us – go to my parents house on Christmas morning as we have for my whole life. We eat breakfast - pretty much the same menu for 60 years. Egg dish, biscuits, ham, fruit, something sweet and the Le Conte Sunrise, a fruit slushy. We hear the Christmas story and then in descending order of age, we descend down the stairs to the basement, pausing to have our picture made on the last step and enter Christmas wonderland. The gifts are stacked in the exact same place as the year before and the year before, etc. We each know exactly where to go. Then we begin the opening. Some years we try to bring more order than others, but with the tribe increasing, it takes too long to wait on every person to open a gift before moving on to the next. If family members are getting the same gift, we make sure they open them at the same time. It’s all complete organized chaos and a whole lot of joy. Then we all simmer down and watch the matriarch and patriarch open their gifts. There are always a lot of laughs and some tears, for someone always manages to give a framed photo of a momentous occasion and we all ooh and aah and snap the cameras. Yes, gift giving is an important part of celebrating in my family.
Giving is important because of the effort, love and time it takes to make or purchase an appropriate gift. And in wrapping, mailing or delivering it! There is usually a lot of love wrapped up with gift giving! Some of us enjoy giving even more than receiving. We rejoice in our ability to create little blessings in people’s lives, by the things we are able to do for them!
We also need to make a Spiritual Christmas Gift List. Who are the people that you need to show the love of Jesus to during this season? Are there people you come across in your everyday life that need a little dose of Jesus?
The women of Christmas – Mary, Elizabeth, and Anna – offered spiritual gifts.
As we close, let’s look at the gifts our women of Christmas gave.
Elizabeth’s gift was joy. Elizabeth was joyful in her own news and in Mary’s news. It’s easy to be joyful when good things happen to us but how joyful are we with the good news of others? Elizabeth stayed joyful even when she didn’t understood how in her old age she could bear a child. She stayed joyful when Mary arrived to share her own good news.
Mary’s gift was faith. Mary didn’t understand the news the angel brought. How could a virgin conceive. However, because of her faith she accepted what she was told and was honored to be a part of God’s big plan.
Anna’s gift was gratitude. Anna was an old and lonely widow living in the temple. She spent her time worshipping God day and night and waiting for the redemption of Israel. She responds to the visit of the baby Jesus with thanksgiving. She’s thankful even after many years of hardship and loneliness.
Let’s pay attention to the gifts these women brought.. This Christmas, I pray that you use the gifts these women have brought: the joy of Elizabeth, the faith of Mary, and the thanksgiving of Anna.
Let us pray that God will show us the individuals in our world who still need the gift of Jesus. Let’s add them to our spiritual Christmas List.
Every good and perfect gift is from above. James 1:17
To hear the full audio of this lesson, click here.
Spiritual Christmas Gift List