My husband got home from a business appointment excited to tell me a story.
He had stopped by a client's office to drop off some paper work when the man uncharacteristically invited him to sit down and chat.
Suddenly, Doug was invited into the secret world of this man's past as the stories of his family's joys, needs, and wounds began pouring out of his middle-aged heart.
Doug, I am still believing our family can recover what we have lost. It has been a rough road, eventhough mom and dad gave all nine of us a good foundation with God in our pastor's family home. But....I can look back and point to where some things went wrong. One of the big things that caused us to drift is when we quit giving each other Christmas presents....
That last statement got Doug's attention.
At our house for the last several weeks the kids have been very busy buying and wrapping Christmas presents for each other. That is no small job when you have a lot of siblings...not to mention nieces and nephews!
I have watched all the hoopla and wondered if we should cut the process down and "draw names." But every year I make the same conclusion: leave them alone. What they are doing is important.
This is the time of the year that they go out of the way to sow into each person's life personally.
They do extra chores, save up from odd jobs and then shop for the perfect gift that will bring joy to their sibling.
Some of them make their treasures. Some of them have even been known to "regift." And everyone knows that very few items in our mound of presents were bought at anything less than bargain clearance. But that is fine. It is not the size or expense that matters. It is the thought and the expression of care.
Perhaps this man's observation is correct. I remember the years that we "swapped token gifts" with an extended family grouping...a tin of popcorn or a box of candy or cookies was an annual tradition.
But then one year we agreed to stop the exchange. And somehow as I crossed them off my annual Christmas gift list, something unfortunate happened. I crossed them out of my remembrance. I didn't mean to; life just got busy and we began to drift.
It seems that is the way with relationships. They never stay still. They are always moving...either closer or more distant.
So while we are completing our holiday plans, maybe we should all ponder this man's wise observation. It seems biblical to me. Giving is what our Lord did best! Celebrating the ones we love is worth our focus and thought.
I am asking myself some questions today....
Who has God placed in my life that I need to nurture and invest in? Who would find my expression of love a blessing (even if the treasure is small and non-valuable by the world's standards)? How can I encourage my own family to discover the joy of giving as they step out of the bondage of coveting?
I'll leave you with this verse to meditate on:
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" Acts 20:35