Thursday, December 25, 2008

The real Joy of Christmas

This Christmas, we decided to slim down the number of gifts
we were going to give our kids, focusing on getting them the
one or two things they really wanted more than anything else.

We shopped for the items online, and with mounting excitement
we read the descriptions of the items; we checked for the best
prices, made our choices, and clicked "Submit Your Order" when
we were ready... A week or so later we received the items on
the front porch, and we gleefully opened them to examine the
contents and to make plans for transport, wrapping, etc.

In the past few days we cheerfully shopped for a few add-ons,
enjoying the anticipation of seeing their little faces light up
on Christmas morning... And as I was driving away from the
Best Buy the other night, it occurred to me:

This is FUN!!

And that got me to thinking (once again) about the nature of Love:
Love is mostly a VERB instead of a noun; it consists of things
you DO for your beloved... And those things almost always
boil down to GIVING to the beloved... And then I recalled that
I have often heard and read about how HAPPY people are, how
contented and fulfilled they feel, when they are unselfishly
giving to those around them, and how "rich" people are often
said to be so miserable (presumably because they're consumed
with things like possessions and status)...

... and then I recalled how I, too, an often-selfish person
side-tracked by my own desires and wants and needs and thoughts,
can once-in-awhile get out of myself and focus on GIVING
to those around me (or to anyone for whom I can perform what
are sometimes called "Random Acts of Kindness), and I recalled
how HAPPY I too am when I succeed in doing so...

"It is more blessed to Give than to Receive"...

My experience with getting Christmas gifts for my kids
(and of course this was not the first time) reminded me again,
as I literally smiled as I drove back to the house the other
night, that I'd MUCH rather give gifts than receive them;
it's truly an enjoyable experience to watch your beloved enjoy
those acts of Love.

Well of course these thoughts led me directly to John 3:16:
"God loved the whole world so much that He gave
the most precious thing to Him - His own Son - so that anyone
who believes won't perish but receive the gift of LIFE, forever".

This means me. This means YOU. And I smiled again as I tried
to picture the Father, ever since (and because of) the Fall, tee-ing up
the Greatest Gift of All ... excitement building for thousands of years...
hardly able to contain Himself as His Gift to the world was unwrapped
from the physical packaging of a virgin's body... on Christmas morning...
all those years ago, in a filthy cattle cave in Bethlehem.

But of course THIS Gift was a mixture of profound Pain as well
as Pleasure for God; the FUN for Him is when any of us accept the Gift
and then LOVE Him back by giving to -- Loving -- those around us.

Merry Christmas.

No comments: