Mark 12:30-31 – And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (KJV)
This year, in preparation for Christmas, while baking, cleaning, putting the finishing touches to the decorations, and finishing up the last of the shopping, here is a challenge: include yourself in your gift-giving. After all, Jesus said that our love for others and our love for ourselves are to be equal.
Give yourself the gift of time — time to sit for even a few seconds now and then, amidst all the hustle and bustle; time to thank God as you go about your preparations, for He has given you the time that you have on this earth.
Give yourself the gift of forgiveness if some things do not get done. He has given you the gift of the ability to forgive, and Christmas was not given to us as an exercise to wear ourselves out.
Give yourself the gift of patience — patience with clerks who are working long hours; patience with family and friends who may become frazzled; patience with yourself in all you have to do, for He is always patient with us.
Give yourself the gift of love. Love who you are, what you stand for, and what you believe, for He has made you in His image.
And lastly, give yourself the gift of joy. See the beauty in the littlest of things. Recognize Jesus in the strangers you meet, for He has said that what we do to the least of these, we do also to Him.
Prayer: May this Christmas season bring us closer to You. May we strive not to overdo, overspend, or overlook those things which are most important: our family, our friends, and our faith. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.