This site is pretty thought provoking & what better time to take a mental inventory & stock of priorities, then during this over commercialized time of year.
Christmas is beautiful. It's a lovely holiday in & of itself & for many people, their absolute favorite. (not me, my favorite is Valentine's! ;-) )
The idea of gifts, giving & receiving can be very overwhelming @ times. The pressure mounts as we go on our yearly quest in pursuit of the perfect gift. The prices, the bills, the hustle & bustle & inadvertently, the stress. Each year, I try to lay low & not give in. Avoid the mall while still trying to enjoy all the lights, sounds & even smells of the season.
Each year has felt better & better in my attempt to scale down. Now, I take no issue w/ the giving & receiving of gifts. The issue I have is being so caught up w/ these material gifts we over look the only true gift we have ever been given. More than just penciling in that Christmas Eve service @ church so that we can feel we didn't neglect God...kwim?
The thing is *nothing* will ever satisfy our soul like the Love & relationship we can have w/ Jesus Christ himself. NOTHING. But as human mortal beings, I believe we try anyway to fill the gaps within our psyche & soul w/ material objects. SHiny bright new things. They offer temporary fulfillment & add joy to our lives..for a time...then they begin to fade, rip, break, get stained or dusty & eventually, always, w/o a doubt, grow into a burden.
A relationship w/ Jesus Christ is never a burden. He came to give us something eternal & everlasting. Something, I don't believe we will even ever understand until that day we are standing w/ him, in glory, face to face. But we can get glimpses every so often.
This year, our family will be *forced* to dramatically scale down our Christmas, as many people will in our nation, during these precarious economic times. But is that really so bad? Is it worth feeling sorry for us over? Cause personally, it is something I have been praying for, for quite some time, maybe even years.
I did not pray for my DH to lose his job. I have, however been praying for God to make major changes in me & my life. To strip away, if necessary, all that would *bind* me to this earth & distract me from full reliance on Him & only Him. Last year it was the comfort of my beloved DH, torn from me, my other half. Only through that loss was I able to see God's merciful provision & strength when I had nothing to trust & no one to rely on but the Holy One.
The year before that, it was the death of my grandmother & mother. Challenging me to seek what was important in this life. Challenging me to trust God when I couldn't ask mom if she was *really* ok, over there.
This year, all financial security is gone. There is none. There is nothing. So what is left? What is truly important? Grief over what I have *not*? Victimization over harsh realities of frail economies?
Or could it be even more *freedom*?
Freedom from pressure to perform, or produce. I am what I am through Christ alone. I have what I have...which is more than enough, through Christ alone or working in others. What am *I* doing?
What is everlasting? What can I give that can be eternal? Being in Ethiopia gave me a glimpse of this as well. When a child's parents die from AIDS, what can I give? What solace is there, w/o Christ? When a village has no clean drinking water I can raise funds for a well, which is good. Of what value is that water w/o the *Living Water*?
Nothing & no one on this Earth will *ever* satisfy us. Nothing! That is Christ's job. Our security & stability is in Him & Him alone. Gifts are wonderful. I *love* them. Diamonds are beautiful & lovely & I'd enjoy having fingers adorned w/ them, truth be told.
But in the end, diamonds are simply rocks of coal. And they won't get me to my Savior. I may not have gifts for everyone on my gift wish list this year but I still have something to offer. Absolutely priceless, even.
He humbled himself as low as possible & came here for *ME*. He died for *ME*. Am I willing to give back to Him by sharing this gift?
Any season, any day of the year, that is the only gift that truly will matter...*now*, & in the end.