Christmas Ornaments - Gifts

(Part 3 in a 4 Part Christmas Series)
 
Note: To celebrate Christmas, I am writing a 4 part series on the Ornaments of Christmas, what decorates our lives over the holiday season. Please join me each week for a new ornament.
 
As we drove over the hill on route 94 I could see a yellow glow in the distance coming from our century old farmhouse. I looked over at my husband, Mike, and he smiled. It was just after Thanksgiving 1999 and we were driving home from Wooster Hospital with our newest bundle of joy,
Colin, in the backseat.
 
We had just finished renovating our old farmhouse about a month earlier, and I so wanted to get candles for all of the windows as a part of our Christmas decorations. But when you go into labor, you forget about everything else.
 
We drove down our road and there they were, a beautiful electric candle glowing from each and every window in our farmhouse. Our house sits next to the pasture and all but one side is visible from the road, so Mike bought twenty candles so that every window had one. It was one of the sweetest Christmas gifts I had ever received, not because it was financially valuable, but because he knew it was important to me even though it was quite trivial by this world’s standards.
 
Those are the best Christmas gifts, the ones that mean something to the receiver because the giver gave of himself in some way. Those gifts ornament our lives with love and joy because they are reminders that we matter to someone, we count. We are important to someone in this world.
 
Mike is especially good at Christmas gift giving, and on our first Christmas together he even made me a crèche out of old barn siding. Every year for the next twenty years he bought one figure for that crèche, and it is now overflowing with shepherds and sheep, wise men and angels, and all sorts of characters and animals. And sitting in the middle of that crèche is Baby Jesus, the most amazing gift we will ever receive.
 
Sometimes I know that I am guilty of spending too much money on Christmas gifts, things nobody really needs in the first place. Gifts that will gather dust or break before the snow melts. I stress about what to get for whom and worry about whether or not they will like the gift.
Just today, a friend reminded me that God knows our hearts no matter what the world may see, something I needed to hear.
 
The world may tell us to spend too much money on things, but God tells us to love others as He loves us.
 
The world tells us to make people happy with things, but God tells us to be joyful always in all things, giving praise and thanks to Him.
 
The world tells us we are nothing without the right cell phone, iPad or Kindle, but God tells us we are everything to Him, no matter what.
 
To show us that we are everything to Him, He sent his one and only Son to us, to be born to a virgin, to live among us, show us love, and then to die for our sins.
 
The most beautiful ornament of Christmas is the gift given to us so that we may know God.
 
Maybe its time to stop buying stuff and start focusing on the Gift of Christmas found in the manger by lowly shepherds who heard the angels singing “Glory to God, and peace on earth.” It may seem trivial by this world’s standards, but it is the only gift you will receive this Christmas that really matters.
 

Posted by Trish Berg 5:14 AM  

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