The Best Gift
The Best Gift
Giving a good gift is a skill that must be honed! Every year, and as Christmas approached, Jody and I would present our children with an opportunity to sharpen their gift-giving skills. We would give them a specific amount of money and allow them to decide how to divide the money and shop for their siblings. This encouraged our kids to look at their siblings in a different light. It also gave our kids ways to “rock” their sibling’s world!
Each Christmas also provided an excellent solo shopping trip adventure with each of our children. Jody and I loved watching our children learn how to express love for each other through the giving of good gifts. Some of the most thoughtful gifts under the tree came from these adventures. Each year, and without fail, the children would ask us, “Mom, Dad, what do you want for Christmas?” Without hesitation, we would reply, “You!” It was a classic answer. It wasn’t a cop out. It was the truth. We love our children, and spending time with them has always been one of our greatest joys!
Time with family fills a place in my heart like none other! My family has shared some amazing holidays together. We have sweet memories of lingering around the table after a delicious meal, sharing intimate conversations about the happenings of the year and future dreams, playing board games, and snuggling in front of the TV watching a black and white Christmas classic. Great times! If memories were money, Jody and I would be billionaires!
After our kids married, we came to realize that we would have to handle the holidays differently. The days of having all our kids for the entire holiday season were gone. My kids each had a second set of parents who expected to spend time with them over the holidays. Initially, this crushed my heart. I could no longer deny that the time for change had come. Every mom wants nothing more than all of her happy little faces around her table. I am no exception.
Jody and I spoke with others who had been swimming in these waters longer than us, discussed possible resolutions, and came up with one. We pitched it to the kids and they agreed. Our solution: every other year we would host Christmas; in the intervening year, we would host Thanksgiving. With this, we would still be able to see all our children for a winter holiday, but no longer for both. The first year without our kids for a holiday was tough! Jody knew this would be hard for me, so he booked us on a cruise. This lovely distraction helped, but what a Mom wants for Christmas is her children’s presence! Everything else is second best. I always look forward to the phone call, or the text, but these are not the same as spending time with my children up close and personal!
I think that what I feel about my children is kind of like what God must feel with us. He has no needs, but He loves spending time with us. As I consider what God wants from us this Christmas, I am sure that His answer is the same as Jody’s and my classic answer to our kids, “You!” And God wants you too! He wants your heart, your time and your obedience.
When the things we desire reflect His heart, they are not just an afterthought politely squeezed in our lives just so that we can check some invisible box. And, we are obedient to God when what we do does not drain our energy. When we operate in His spirit, we will not complain. We will have no need to complain. Why? Because He will faithfully equip us for each task He calls us to do. So, if you find yourself exhausted this Christmas, stop and ask yourself if what you are doing is a good thing, or a God thing. There is a big difference!
God enjoys our presence, not just a passing “shout out.” This Christmas is not one that my husband and I will spend with our kids. So, we will have extra room in our schedule for a peaceful and quiet time with God Christmas morning. Our plan is to take a walk in the cold morning air. While we walk, we will recite the chapter of the Bible that we are presently memorizing together. We will also pray for our family and praise God for His faithfulness. Back home, over coffee and Christmas breakfast casserole, we will read a few chapters from Luke and discuss each thing that God illuminates for us in His Word. We will not rush, but linger in His presence. This may be the best gift that Jody and I can give God this Christmas, and the very cool thing is that this may be the best gift that we will receive this Christmas too! Hallelujah!
Take a few extra moments with God this beautiful Christmas morning! Don’t rush through the motions. Instead, linger a while in His presence. Enjoy the sweetness of fellowship with the King of Kings! Keep reading, friend! Merry Christmas!
Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.