real gifts

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It’s supposed to be a happy time of year… As long as I can remember my heart was thrilled at the prospect of Christmas, but there was another part of my heart that broke for the less fortunate.

My mom and dad reminded us to pray for the less fortunate when I was a kid. I always did, even when on a few occasions we may well have fallen into that category ourselves. It’s heartbreaking to think of kids without presents, much less without the basic necessities of life. We were blessed to not have to fall into that extreme category.

Who are the fortunate? Is it the kids who get everything on their Christmas wish list? I doubt it. In many ways those might be even less fortunate than those with little, I think it all depends on our perspective.

We’re planning to do things for the monetarily less fortunate this year. Does that mean we’re the “fortunate”? I’d say it does, not because we have jackets, but because it’s a gift to be able to give and help, especially when it’s cold outside.

As a kid I was no different than any other kid, I wanted cool stuff for Christmas. Like God’s gift and sacrifice of His son to a lost and dull world, parents give, sometimes with sacrifice to their children in tradition of this season.

Kids don’t fully comprehend it, it can take decades before they grasp with wisdom the true meaning of Christmas. We often take the gift of God’s Son for granted, just like the little ones longing to strip the wrapping paper off another gift.

It isn’t until some time later that kids can look back in hindsight to see the sacrifice of a parent or parents, in a very small way reminiscent of our Father and His perfect gift. Once grasped, we look back in wonder and awe at the perfect gift of Jesus Christ.

I think when we begin to grasp that, we also grasp the other gifts from God, those gifts that aren’t wrapped sitting under a dying or fake tree. The living gifts of our family and loved ones. The precious memories aren’t the tearing of wrapping paper off a present. The memories are the gifts of time being spent with people who dearly love us; the ones we sacrifice for.

Like a child tearing wrapping paper off of presents, we miss the best part of those gifts. We miss the smiles on the faces of the loved ones who sacrifice, directed by God to care for His little ones.

Often we take for granted God will grant them or us another year. For those of us who live with the reality of another Christmas without the smile of a loved one to share with us, also know that the real gift is life.. Here now, and in eternity later.

The thoughts of Christmas still bring mixed emotions to me. I’m thrilled for the time with family and I’m sad for the less fortunate…

There is an area about two inches under my collar bone, just above my heart that gives me slight pain, as I ponder another Christmas without my dad. It certainly helps me understand the true meaning of fortunate.

The fortunate are the ones who realize that the real gifts of Christmas are the gifts of salvation…

And the stocking stuffers I like to call family…