Saturday, December 24, 2011

a Real Gift - Merry Christmas

The day has finally arrived - Christmas.
It's all been building to this.
My kids are overstimulated
I am up to my elbows in recipes
our movie marathon is well underway
the Christmas cards have finally been addressed and sent
almost everything is wrapped & prepped
today I continue to feel like one of the most blessed women on the planet.

And lest you think I over exaggerate I am not.

I have been brutally reminded of the experience of receiving a gift.

Wait!? What!? Receive a gift? Don't you do that every birthday and Christmas?!

Yes, but and especially time of year we
make gift lists
and shop for gifts
and wrap gifts
and it's about the gifts, gifts, gifts.

Have we used that word so much that the real meaning of it is lost?

I was given a gift recently.
A gift that initially - I didn't want.
A big, wrapped up, anonymous surprise that ... I didn't want.

I was afraid I had portrayed my family as needy.
I wanted no pity.
I had signed up for retail work so that we could have a Christmas
I was going to take care of the gift giving this year.
I was.

I worked ungodly hours.
I saved every penny.
I shopped with impressive consumer savvy.
I was in charge of the gift giving this year.

or so I thought.

Dear Friends of Santa, you have, in one fell swoop, reminded me of the real reason behind the season. You see, a true gift is only a gift if you receive it.
A gift is not a gift if you can earn it - that's called a reward.
A true gift is not even deserved.
It's not even one that you asked for - that's called a request.
A gift - in it's true meaning -  is an unadulterated, unsolicited, undeserved blessing.
And you can't receive a blessing if you don't accept it.
You can't get hung up on whether you feel worthy to receive
or embarrassed that you've been given
or any of the number of emotions that
your mind tries to sneak into your soul.

A real gift is amazing.
A real gift is free.
A real gift you can never pay back.
A real gift is one you never forget.

I will never forget this Christmas.

Christmas: the holiday that, at it's root is a remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior come to earth to redeem our souls. A special heavenly birth that is a real, free, undeserved gift to all mankind.

Romans 5:15 "But the gift that God was kind enough to give was very different from Adams's sin. That one sin brought death to many others. Yet in an even greater way, Jesus Christ alone brought God's gift of kindness to many people"

You, like me, might have gifts to open this Christmas week but I pray with all my heart you too could somehow remember the power of
a real

Some gifts are wrapped in paper and bows
and one is wrapped in a swaddling cloths.

May both find you.
May both comfort you.
May both remind you ... Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.

Merry Christmas, Stephanie

To Write a Better Story

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