My friend, Mary bought the cutest book at LifeWay Christian Bookstores. It is entitled, "What Does God Want For Christmas." Last night after I got back to her house with her goodies from our bible study party (she was home sick), she asked me to read the story and she opened each little box as I got to that part. The final gift is number 7 and after you read that part in the book you open the tiny box and see the gift God wants for Christmas....it is so very touching. After I went to bed I laid there and thought about Christmas....and this past weekend....when I had my whirlwind 2 programs and 1 Open house. What was I thinking? As the holidays fast approach (eleven days to be exact) many of us are scurrying around like little mice trying to make all of the necessary preparations for our families and friends. I have lists made everywhere....there is the Walmart list....full of food to buy, I have scoured the countryside looking for the perfect decorations to hang, and, of course, many of us still have presents to buy. We spend a so much of our time thinking about, searching for, and buying, presents for family, friends, and even ourselves. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about what I want. I love to GIVE presents.....but don't necessarily have to have one. I am the kind of person that if I see something I want....I get it....or I do without it. Don't get me wrong....I LOVE getting presents....I love things someone made for me because it shows me you spent time on me( One of my all time favorite gifts my daughter Kat made by taking pictures of places we had been and writing scripture on the borders of the framed print. They are in my bedroom). I love pins and pendants that are unique, sparkly, and shiny.(Amy and Steven excelled here with my teacher/music Brighton pin. I smile everytime I wear it.) I love unusual candles. I ADORE Christmas ornaments. I love scarves (especially pashimas)....I love books and CD's. I love to have mani's and pedi's. I love to be pampered. I love to spend time with people I love. I am really NOT difficult to buy for....you just have to put some thought into it. I spend all year asking, and thinking about, what other people in my life would like to receive. It thrills me to get to be a blessing to others. I love to see the joy on the faces of my sweet Frank and our kids as they open a gift they wanted. I get excited thinking about the happiness the gift I am giving will bring to friends.My joy of Christmas is found in the sharing. What about God? Do I think about what God would like to receive for Christmas? Do you ever think about what the One who gave everything for us would like to have for the holiday? Sadly, no, or at least, not enough, and I wonder if others do either. In the midst of the busyness of the season and the concern for self and others, it is easy to assume that since God doesn't need anything, there is nothing to offer him. It is true that God needs nothing, but there are things God desires. Sure, the Almighty could merely speak and any desire would be fulfilled, but part of God's desire is that we would be the source of that fulfillment so he waits for us to respond. So what does God desire. The first thing God wants for Christmas is us. He wants our heart, our love, our attention. Like a mother, or father who is less concerned with the cost or quality of the gift, but is filled with joy to be remembered, God is not looking for a bigger gift in the offering plate or some extravagant gesture, but is blessed when we remember him. It is true that ultimately it IS the thought that counts, but how that thought is expressed can be important. So how can we express our thoughtfulness to God? Allow me to offer a short list to stimulate your creativity.
Love one another.
Love someone you consider other.
Love mercy, justice and humility.
Work for all three.
Share the compassion and grace God has shown you.
Pray for peace.
Work for peace.
Make time to be with God.
Make time to be with people.
Feed the hungry.
Clothe the naked.
Visit those imprisoned by law or by life.
Be good news to poor and captive.
Encourage the brokenhearted.
Proclaim the year of the Lord.
Embrace the Gospel.
Live the Gospel.
Be the Gospel.
As these next few days pass quickly let me say, may the joy of Christmas be yours. May it come to others through you, and may you feel the joy of the Lord as he rejoices over you this holiday season.Have a blessed Tuesday!