I grew up in a home where Christmas gifts were prolific. In fact, we would often begin opening presents before breakfast and continue opening throughout much of the day, stopping briefly for a quick lunch, only to return to opening more presents. As a child, this was a lot of fun (though I do remember getting quite tired before the job was done). Daddy would faithfully get me that cotton candy maker and Mom would discard it a few days after Christmas. In between I made a batch of cotton candy. Recently I was challenged to consider the most memorable Christmas gift I ever got. It was, without hesitation, the year that Daddy gave me an entire day to go and do with him whatever I wanted.
Fast forward to Christmas shopping this year. I had gone to visit a some Friends in Eugene Friday night. It was unusually stormy. So much so that I decided to spend the night with Grandma instead of going back home. Just wasn’t safe. Though I had plans to continue working on Christmas gift preparations over the weekend, God had other plans. Saturday morning I took Grandma out for some Christmas shopping. We became part of the crowd rushing around looking for the “perfect gift” for our kids. Deep down, I know that every gift purchased for our adult children is unnecessary because they already have whatever they want. This year especially Grandma is committed to buying gifts instead of giving them her traditional cash. Inside I feel something rising up as a roaring lion or a rushing waterfall, stronger than ever. This just can’t be right! Something happened shopping with Grandma. I took her home and headed out to get some practical gifts at T.J. Maxx. When I got to the right section, it had been well picked over. The store was about 5 times as busy as usual. I just couldn’t take it any more. It as time to go. On the way out I noticed that the check-out line, which usually has no people or a couple at most, had mushroomed into a line of at least 30 people. People loaded with gifts for loved ones. I knew that few, if any, of the gifts would be truly appreciated–at least any for the adults. It was there that I just knew something different had to happen this year.
In the past, I would make gifts and/or join the crowd and seek out that “perfect gift”. Not so now. This morning as I was seeking the Lord regarding this turmoil, an idea came across my mind. You see, I’ve been wanting to start a new tradition this year. What kind of tradition can you start when the kids are no longer at home? I want to give them something more valuable than my cheap, uninformed version of something I think they would like. I also want to get away from supporting the retailers–the world’s value system. My husband, who had just returned from a December business trip to the UK remarked that in the San Francisco airport he overheard a ruckus regarding an angel on the Christmas tree in the airport. It had offended someone and must therefore be removed. In Europe the atmosphere was far more conducive to the Christmas spirit. He said that of all the places and airports he’s been to in the last 10 days the one in San Francisco had the least Christmas feeling. How can I participate in the Christmas tradition of buying presents when it now so blatantly promotes the world’s system, bullies me as a believer in Jesus, and forcibly rejects most everything that has to do with the whole reason that Christmas started in the first place? I just can’t do it any more.
So, while thinking on this, an idea popped in my mind. I want to give the kids something much more than what money can buy. I want to give them something very valuable to me. The most valuable possession I have received this year. I want to start a new tradition of giving them a small token to represent the most significant lesson the Lord has imparted to me this year. I also want to find a way to present it to them in a succinct sentence, or quote. So . . .
The lesson: “My gifts and talents are God’s gift to me; what I do with them are my gift to God.” I’ve thought about this often while putting together these boxes and designing classes for homeschoolers. The other day my eldest son challenged me to consider that if God has given me a vision, He will also give me the tools to make that vision a reality. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve wanted to teach. Something I read in Jonathan Cahn’s “Book of Mysteries” is that I should take some time to look over what God has done in my life and share that with others. I think the greatest thing that He has done in my life is to make me a mother. I want to share this with others. This morning I was listening to Ravi Zacharias remind us that to find purpose and meaning in life is to know God and to make Him known. Last week at the Entrepreneur’s Meet-up I was encouraged to find groups of people to speak to. Scary. But, what is speaking to people if it’s not teaching? God is rearranging things in my heart and the core of my being. Now is the time to hold His hand tight, press into the arms of God like never before, and go forth with the service that I seek to do as my love-gift to Him from my nature that has heard the call of God. For, He has instructed and taught me in the way which I should go and He has counseled me with His eye upon me. It is now time to incorporate the gifts and talents He has given me to fill the vision He has given me. No more supporting the world’s system of Christmas as I look and listen to my Saviour–the One whose birthday we celebrate on December 25–and not the tradition that has turned against Him.