I went on a walk Saturday with my MOM. We join with Sophie, Ty and Tucker. Bert could not come cuz he had a frozen pipe to deal with at his house. All is better now at his house. So I thought I'd show you some of what I did while I tell you about the best free gift ever.
Every year there is the “it” gift that is sought out and sold out long before Christmas Eve. The “it” gift in 1929 was a “Yo-Yo” — high tech for its time. In 1943 the must have toy was a strange doo-dad called a “slinky.”
Throughout the sixties, seventies, and eighties it was Cabbage Patch Dolls and Care Bears, Elmo (“Tickle Me,” “Live,” or “Let’s Rock”). Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles headed the list.
But the Barbie (1959) and BMX Bike (1982) eras have long been replaced by a wish list that is governed by microchips. Ever since the appearance of the Game Boy in 1989, electronic gadgets and games and gizmos have dominated the “it” list of must have gifts.
This year “kids” of all ages want the Apple Mac Book Air, the iPhone 5s, the Xbox-One, a Kindle Fire, or Play Station 4. (I have no idea what those are. They don't even sound tasty, well except the Apple Mac and Cheese thingy).
But tell me all you peeps out there, when you look back on Christmases past, what were your best gifts? Were they any of those “it” gifts from childhoods past? Do you really think that any of this year’s 2013 “it” gifts will be remembered in the future as your “best gift ever?”
I am going to say, Never. I venture to say that your “best present possible,” your “perfect gift” for this year would bear no resemblance to those “it” gifts wished for. No “thing” can ever be a “best present.”The best possible gift to receive or to give is evidenced, not by a receipt, but by a relationship. The mark of the perfect gift is not wrapping, but the wrap of arms and paws and a wrap-around hug.
So what's on your “wish list” this year? The healing of an old hurtful memory? A word of forgiveness spoken and received? An estranged family member returns? A friend is reclaimed and restored? The love of a new relationship embraced and celebrated?
And what is the best present you could GIVE this Christmas? The perfect gift is nothing snatched off a counter, or ordered online or some specialty website.
The best presents we can give are the flip-side of those we long to receive — extending an olive branch across the breach of a broken relationship; offering forgiveness despite past hurts; extending friendship and love to a new person in your life, regardless of the risk; showing hospitality to strangers.
Romans 15:4-14 encourages us to “welcome one another” just as Christ has welcomed you”. The shocking surprise gift of Christmas is the presence (present) of Jesus, the Son of God, born in to this world. Despite centuries of prophesied expectations, Jesus’ arrival was still strange and unprecedented. No one was prepared for this kind of coming. And no one expected the expanse and extent of mercy and love Jesus would extend to the world, to everyone.
Unexpected. Unprecedented. The “Christmas gift” of Jesus Christ was extended to everyone, even aliens and strangers. The gift of the birth of the Messiah was not about a “big ticket” item, like national rebirth, or political dominance, or power and presence on the world scene.
The “Christmas gift” Jesus offered was a TGIF Gift…not a Thank-God-It’s-Friday gift, but a The-Gift-Is-Free gift – the free gift of a renewed, reborn relationship with the God of the universe — a TGIF relationship made possible by Christ’s redeeming life, death and resurrection.
The second biggest shopping day of the year after “Black Friday” is the day AFTER Christmas — when everyone RETURNS all the gifts they received but they did not want. And for those who don’t have receipts, there is the great tradition of “re-gifting” — re-wrapping and passing along a gift to another person because the gift was un-needed, un-wanted, or ill-fitting.
My friends, you cannot “return” the gift of a God relationship, a TGIF gift. But you can re-gift it and pass it on. And the passing on of God’s TGIF gift is the best gift we could give this Christmas and every Christmas, well every day really. All God’s children are gift-ed. Isn't that beautiful? Know what makes it more beautiful? The gifts lavished on all are meant to be re-gifted, gifted again, and again, and again, passed on.When mean, selfish Scrooge woke up, both literally and figuratively, and converted to a life of giving, these were the first words out of his mouth: "I am as light as a feather; I am as happy as an angel; I am as merry as a schoolboy; I am as giddy as a drunk."
What Scrooge discovered is what scientists have now documented. The worst thing you can spend money on and get happiness from it? Yourself. In their words: Buying gifts or giving to charity is often more pleasurable than purchasing things for oneself, and luxuries are most enjoyable when they are consumed sparingly.
Want to be as “light as a feather?” “Happy as an angel?” “Merry as a schoolboy?” “Giddy as a drunk?” Give TGIF gifts — Thank-God-It’s-Free gifts — this season.Blessings,