Monday, December 10, 2007

The month in a nutshell

This holiday season has been made even more special for my family and I because we are living close to our family again for the first time in 8 years. Yes, that means for the first time in 8 years, we won't be packing up the car with our suitcases as well as our gifts and driving them at least 1 1/2 hours away to spend the holidays with our families. How blessed we are this year to live only a mile from both sets of our parents.

So, as I was thinking about how great it is to be close to family during such a special season and my favorite time of year, I began reflecting on what this season means to me.

There are so many traditions that come to mind that make me so happy and joyful during this season. I love to decorate the trees and sit in my living room with all the overhead lights off and bask in the illumination all those twinkling lights give off. I love to shop for the perfect gift for everyone on my list and I'm just bursting with excitement and anticipation as I wait for the day that they can open them. I love family and friends and the time that I spend with them throughout the holidays. And most importantly, I treasure the time that Husband and I get to spend with our son talking with him about the true reason for the season. "Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus" he says when asked what we will sing on Christmas morning. That one phrase coming from the mouth of a 2 year old is the best Christmas present he could give me.

My friend, A-Mac, sent me an e-mail story recently that really sums it all up for me. It is called The Greatest Gift and info about the organization that sent it can be found here . If anyone would like a copy of this story e-mailed to them, contact me at The story is a bit lengthy, but bare with it. I promise you will truly treasure it.

The Greatest Gift

Once upon a time, it was almost Christmas morning as the little brown-haired girl tip-toed into the living room to "spy". Every year she "spied" and every year it was the same; a pine tree sparkling with hundreds of multi-colored twinkle lights revealing a vast display of beautiful ornaments. Some ornaments were soon-to-be collectibles purchased from the local card store and others were handmade by family members; tiny treasures passed down for many years and although worn and even tarnished, held great value to the family.

The sleepy-eyed little girl took a minute to find her favorite ornament and remembered putting it on the tree herself, "with great care," she would add, to make sure it didn't break. As she quietly stood there, the smell of fresh pine mixed with smoldering embers in the fireplace combined to create the wonderful and comforting smell of Christmas.

As her eyes slowly made her way down the tree, she "spied" packages of all shapes and sizes; brightly colored wrapping paper with beautiful ribbons are scattered all around just waiting to be discovered with the morning light.

Taking great care, she tip-toed through the sea of paper carefully looking at the tags to discover what surprises might await her. It was then that she noticed a package with her name on it. A small box wrapped in beautiful red wrapping paper with a small gold bow on the top and a tag that said her name! She was shocked and excited at the same time! Upon careful inspection, she saw the small words"open while spying!" A gasp caught in her throat! She had been discovered!

Curiosity getting the best of her, she carefully unwrapped the gift and slowly opened the box. Inside was a simple gold cross. She recognized it immediately as being the cross her mother wore every single day! She picked it up and held it in her hands, the metal cool in her palms. As she did, her hand brushed a letter at the bottom of the box. She picked it up, opened it and read:

My darling girl- Merry Christmas! I knew you would be up "spying" so I decided to give you this gift early! I know you already realize this is the cross I wear everyday without fail. As I have prepared for Christmas Day, I asked God to show me the "greatest gift" I could give you!
I love you so much and I want to give you everything I possibly can in life. The Lord gently reminded me what the "greatest gift" I could ever give you was and no, it is not the cross.
As you can see this necklace is old and worn. In fact, you probably don't know this, but the necklace isn't even mine. It is simply to be a reminder of the "greatest gift!"

In a few hours, you will open all of the other gifts we have for you and I know you will love each and every one of them. However, the "greatest gift" is not something that is opened and played with. The "greatest gift" I can give you my child, is to live my own life to honor God. I want to show you that loving God and remaining a faithful follower of Jesus Christ is a wonderful and sometimes painful journey, but ALWAYS worth it!
I want you to see me standing in my love for God when my legs want to crumble beneath me and I feel I can't take anymore. And when times are good , I want to always remind you to WHOM the glory truly belongs. You see, when I was your age, I was in this very room "spying" when I saw a beautiful gold package with a small red bow. That was the Christmas my mother gave me her cross and the "greatest gift" she could ever give me. She asked me to wear the cross everyday to remind her of the gift she was daily giving me.

I can honestly say after receiving many packages through the years, her walk with Christ was the "greatest gift" she ever gave me and I pray that it will be the "greatest gift" you ever receive too! If you would put the necklace on and wear it everyday, it will remind me that each day I live my life following hard after God, I'm giving you the "greatest gift" I could ever give.
Now, tip-toe back off to bed and I'll see you in the morning. Love, Momma
Slowly, the little girl took the necklace out of the box and placed it around her neck. When the sun rose and the family woke up to receive the morning, the little girl came bursting through the door with the gold necklace shining around her neck! As she ran into her mother's arms, she whispered, "Thank you for the "greatest gift" you will ever give me!" The End

I want to be that light for Jesus Christ. Mary in the 1st chapter of Luke says it best when she says, 46)"My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47) And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour." Let's rejoice in our Saviour this Christmas season. Let's remember him in all aspects of our celebrations. And let's strive to give the greatest gift we could ever give someone by glorifying and honoring the precious name of Jesus each and everyday.

Merry Christmas Baby Jesus!


Keepin' It Real said...

What a wonderful story! May it remind us all of the true meaning of Christmas,and may we strive to carry that meaning all throughout the year,and remember that Jesus died for us,and what a precious gift that is for us. Have a truely blessed Christmas.