Saturday, December 7, 2013

Free Gift

Hello Friends.

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But the Barbie (1959) and BMX Bike (1982) eras have long been replaced by a wish list that is governed by microchips.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,


  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful message and the TRUE reason for the season! This couldn't have come at a better time! :)

  2. What a wonderful post! This message is often times forgotten because we just get too busy. Thank you for reminding us. XOXO

  3. another great sermon my friend. Sorry I missed the walk today but like you said, we were lucky and John was able to fix our frozen pipes pretty quickly. Stay warm

  4. Thank you ever so much for reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas. What a wonderful sermon. It looks like you and your friends had an awesome romp in the woods! We love the picture best at the end where you are all huddled in with your MOM.
    xo Chloe and LadyBug

  5. Well said and we should stop and remember what this season is really about. Have a serene Sunday and get in some big easy today.
    Best wishes Molly

  6. so true and i have lived from yo yo and slinky to now... well said and I believe every word... do i do it? not always for sure. you have put the true meaning of Christmas in words perfectly.... thanks and goose in some of the photos i had a hard time seeing you since you blend in perfectly with the back ground. hope mom had a bell on you...

  7. Hi Y'all!

    My Human says she had a yo yo. Some of her favorite memories are of the slinky and her dad putting it at the top of the stairs and letting it "walk" down. Maybe her most memorable Christmas gift was a doll, a Raggedy Ann doll sitting under the Christmas tree. Her second was pecan tarts from grandmother.

    Since she grew up and married, she and my Papa do not exchange gifts, nor does our family. All the Humans gather together at Thanksgiving and Christmas to share a meal (to which everyone present, except children, contribute) and share just "being together".

    What do I get out of all this? My Humans also make special time to just share "being with me".

    Y'all come back now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  8. Sandra sent me over here to read your post and I am so glad that I did. This is awesome and I wish more people looked at Christmas this way.

  9. You are right Goose, things are things. It is just stuff. It is the love that matters. Lee and Phod

  10. Mom always says it the simple things that give the most ....watching the sun rise, seeing a new bud on a tree.....seeing an icicle.

  11. Ohh this post is beautiful, i loved it :)

  12. I don't remember most of the gifts I've been given in the past. But I do recall the year I gave everyone those glasses with the nose and mustache attached as gag gifts. And I recall the year my great-grandpa made us all wait to open gifts while he ate another piece of pie. And I recall the year great-grandpa told a joke right before we said the blessing for the meal and we all got so tickled we laughed through the prayer.

    Ahhhhh..... what great memories!

  13. Goose, do you ever worry that this message is being totally lost in an ever increasingly secular world? Thanks for this beautiful and timely post.

  14. The BESTEST GIFT is the one you GIVE not the one you GET.

  15. I agree with you, brother. I admit there are some small things on my list, but the best gift is, that we are together. We will celebrate our crazy feast and we have fun. Even the mischief we will do is a memory for ever and we don't give it back the day after christmas, because we need it next year for a "do you still remember..."

  16. What a beautiful snowy walk

    Stop on by for a visit

  17. Hey handsome Goose and friends!! What gorgeous pictures.

    Mom says her most favorite gift over the years has been good health and maybe just maybe she had taken that gift for granted but after this last year she will always be thankful for good health for loved ones and friends.
    Hugs Madi your bfff

  18. That was beautiful, Goose! Cam and I are teaching Maggie as best we can about Christmas and we'll be sure to have her read this!
    Play bows,
    PS: We thought you said Bert was home with a frozen PIE at first! Ha roo roo roo!

  19. Beautiful pictures!!! Those are some gorgeous nature shots... and of course, even better looking doggy shots!

  20. This is beautiful and so very true.:)
    So glad Sandra had your link on her post.

  21. Your Sunday posts are always wonderful, Goose, but today's is extra special - you said it all so well. We hope you have lots of visitors today and we hope they all take to heart your message. Thank you from all of us.

    Woos - Phantom, Ciara, and Lightning and Mom

  22. what a wonderful message Goose. It brought back a beautiful memory for Mom. When Mom left home at 18 yrs old she was not on the best terms with her father. A few years later she was a newly divorced single mom with two small children, It would be their first Christmas alone. But Mom's father flew out from California to Idaho to spend Christmas with them. What a special Christmas she will always cherish. Mom's Dad has now been gone since 1999 but she misses him still
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Greta

  23. This is another good sermon you wrote Goose!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy and Stanley

  24. I wish more people would have the chance to read your post--It's a perfect message and a perfect way to end my day.

  25. I adore your TGIF gift. A wonderful message - and I truly mean that.

  26. A wonderful message and a wonderful post; the pictures and the message are very uplifting!

    *kissey face*
    -Fiona and Family

  27. Well then we already got our present as mama as renewed an old lost friendship and we couldn't be happier! Your mama is so wise!

  28. Very nice post Goose, but I have to be honest. I saw the brown dawgs eying the ducks in your pictures. :)

  29. Goose, tell your MOM this one is for the book. She knows what you're talking about. <3