The Gifts That Last

December 4, 2000
by Claudia McDonald

Matthew 25:40 – The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (NIV)

I have no spectacular memory to hold onto of a phenomenal Christmas present or an outstanding occasion that is unique to the season. Instead, all those days are melded together into a montage of laughter, embraces, food, cheer, and deep devotion to family and God. For days on end, different branches of our families, on both sides, would make the journey to our door. Coats, hats and mittens would come off, snow would be stomped loose to melt in small pools on the tile floor, mugs of hot cocoa and coffee would be passed around and laughter would prevail. Lots of back-slapping by the men accompanied the hugs and kisses of the women, while the children squealed with delight over more company to entertain and another present to place under the tree. With no great wealth in our family, I still wonder where the provision came from to supply the gifts shared within our family. They were not of great expense, but practical and always appreciated: a box of chocolates, a fruitcake (the kind you could really eat!), slips, handkerchiefs — all the wonderful presents that would assure one a spot in the memory of the recipient each time that gift was shared.

How wonderful to have those precious memories in my mental scrapbook! How sad it is that today, because of schedules, priorities, and lack of interest, we cannot add to the scrapbook our children will one day open. While we prepare to lavish presents on one another, why not dig deep, pull out a bankroll of "self", and give it to someone? We might decide simply to drop by the house of a family member, bearing a tray of cookies, a loaf of homemade bread, or a small basket of fruit. Sharing the happy times of their family activities will enhance our own. And before leaving, let us share Christ with them, perhaps with a word and a prayer. He's a present that has already been bought — and He's a "one size fits all"!

John 15:13 – Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (KJV)

Prayer: Gracious God, we thank You for sharing the gift of Yourself with us at that first Christmas in Bethlehem. Help us, as we remember the birthday of our Saviour Jesus Christ, to offer ourselves, more than any material gift, to our families and our neighbours. Help us to take time to share the love of Jesus Christ in person this Christmas. In His name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Claudia McDonald
San Diego, California, USA

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