Monday, December 20, 2010

Presents? No! Gifts? YES!!

Most assuredly, not all will feel as I, but if there is one person struggling with their giving this Christmas, may these words offer substance to redirect your thinking.

It seems that our society is caught up in the gimmickry of materialism at Christmas. Items are displayed in stores earlier and earlier each year. This past September, you could walk into most stores and find Christmas (called "holiday" now) alive and on sale. The aisles hollered out: Buy Me, Buy Me - and it continues to do so, with us having traveled past Columbus Day, Halloween, Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving. (No holiday can stand in the way of marketing the all mighty dollar). How sad that things have taken the place of the true meaning of giving. Why doesn't Neighbor Sally's jar of pickle relish, Auntie May's embroidered dish towels, or Grandma Gracie's crocheted tablecloth - all fashioned with loving hands, now mean so little? Why do the things which should matter most become white elephants to be boxed and placed in the closet, or even worse yet, taken to a thrift store for use as a tax deduction?

Gifts should never be measured in size or cost, nor should we be ashamed for not giving an expensive present. True, many judge us by the price of the present. That’s ridiculous! Contentment cannot be determined by the distribution /receipt of costly items. Why, next year will you remember what you received this year? Or more importantly, will you still appreciate it? Substance is not love, nor will it bring true happiness. If a price tag means joy, let's leave the price tags on. (Oh, I’ve done that a time or two due to hurriedly trying to get stuff wrapped. How embarrassing it was!!). If cost matters, let's make sure the tags are in conspicuous places to be noticed the minute the package is opened, and that the price tag screams out as to price and place purchased. Let's tell our children, our grandchildren, our parents, and/or our friends what we feel they are worth - $47.50, 79.95, $154.89, $275.99, $398.88, $487.67, or $??? I'm sure you get my drift.

For Christmas, let's decide whether we are going to give a present or give a gift. Presents are normally cold, usually expensive, and distributed without genuine care or concern - and is the result of the use of a credit card, letting a payment lapse, or shall I go a little further, IOU’ing your tithes. Sorry, just couldn’t resist but there are those who find such importance in giving presents. Sad, isn't it? The gift, however, is gift is warm, shows affection and might not cost a penny, and if there is a cost, it is done with much selectivity, care and love - and it won't mortgage your paychecks until next Christmas (or beyond). Gifts will last long after the batteries are dead, the wrap is tossed in the dumpster, and the thank you notes are written. Gifts live on...

Two of my greatest gifts came by way of love. Although one was not given at Christmas, it still speaks of what really counts, and declares that the spirit of Christmas should be alive in the heart all year round.

Treasured is a green ware Nativity set from my two sons, Mark and Cameron, for my birthday in 1976. I returned home from the hospital where my husband was in ICU. It was slightly after midnight but the two were waiting up for me. At first I scolded them for being up so late (which I regret to this day), and then realized that they were giving their love in such a special way. Opening that gift and watching their expressions still burns in my heart. It is priceless. I glazed and fired it in time for Christmas, and now each year, the Nativity is proudly displayed at Christmas (and sometimes throughout the whole year). Although, Mark is no longer with us, his memory lives on and his love continues to touch me when I look at this set that two precious boys bought with their hearts.

Another treasure as to what matters most - a tiny grin at Christmas from granddaughter Zoe when her mother Barbara tried to get a 3-1/2 month old to play with toys for age 3 years and up. Being our first grandbaby, we never once checked to see if the toys were suitable for a baby. Zoe loved the toys, and what a lasting memory we have. She gave us love with a precious smile and some small gestures of excitement. In less than two months, she was taken to dwell with angels. Nothing could ever take the place of that Christmas Day, and every Christmas her memory burns brightly as a gift of love.

Oh, there have been many other gifts given by my loved ones, and since the miles sometimes don't allow us to be together for the holidays, the memories of their gifts of love are gathered and treasured in my heart.

Friend, don’t judge this season by the lack of presents (yes, presents). Please judge the season by the gifts given of yourself to those you love. Those gifts are found in the heart, not under a tree.

Merry Christmas – and treasured Gifts to you all!

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's Not in the Things!

Until one feels the spirit of Christmas, there is no Christmas. All else is outward display - so much tinsel and decorations. For it isn't the holly, it isn't the snow. It isn't the tree nor the firelight's glow. It's the warmth that comes to the hearts of men when the Christmas spirit returns again. - Unknown

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Is In The Air

It is Christmas in the heart
that puts Christmas in the air.
- W.T. Ellis

I'm sure that's truly not the right quote for this picture BUT it was too perfect not to do so. Enjoy getting ready for your special Christmas time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Babies Are Special

Babies have a hold on our lives like nothing else. They can send us into a tizzy with their bawling, or tug at our heartstrings with their sweet coos. A baby can make us forget our worries, or add to them if he/she desires. However, we can't help falling in love with them. - Unknown
.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Let Curiosity Reign!

Seize the moment of excited curiosity on any subject to solve your doubts; for if you let it pass, the desire may never return, and you may remain in ignorance. - William Wirt

Picture: My nephew's twins, Lexie & Preston, at the fair

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Church

Church isn’t where we meet. Church isn’t the building. Church is who we are. Church is the outworking of Jesus Christ. Why not show others its importance today at your place of worship.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Umm...Good!

A taste for truth
at any cost
is a passion
which spares nothing

- Albert Camus

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Caution!

It is not the brains that matter most, but that which guides them—the character, the heart, generous qualities, progressive ideas. - F.Dostoyevsky

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Storing Treasures

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt 6.19-21 (NIV)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

May We Softly Glow

A Christmas candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away;
While quite unselfish, it grows small.
- Eva K. Logue

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Keep Pressing On...We're Almost Home

When I see the state of this world with its diseases, heartache, pain, pitfalls, and other cares of life, the lyrics of this song reach out and speak volumes to my heart. Perhaps, your heart is feeling the same way. May this you.tube message be an encouragement for us to "keep pressing on".


Listen...can't you hear it coming?
Prophesies are being fulfilled
Look at, how the world is changing
It's like a dream, only it's real
Soon the battle will be over!
We'll sing the victory song!
Everyday we're getting closer!
O' Child, keep pressing on...We're Almost Home...

Earthquakes, hunger and diseases
Wrong is right, and right is wrong
And people, trying to deceive us
Can't you see, it won't be long?
Soon the race will be completed!
We've got to finish strong!
Jesus will be there to greet us!!
O' Church, keep pressing on...We're Almost Home...

Soon the battle will be over!
We'll sing the victory song!
Everyday we're getting closer!
O' Child, keep pressing on...We're Almost Home...
We're Almost Home...We're Almost Home......Almost Home.

Joy!!!

Joy to the World, the Lord has come!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Going Shopping?

Oh, for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping when they ran out of money. - Author Unknown

Friday, December 3, 2010

Things to Come?

LET'S NEVER OUTSOURCE THE LORD IN OUR LIFE!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Recipe for Life?

During the holiday, it's important to remember:

"Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough
but not baked in the same oven." - Yiddish Proverb