My hubby and I many years ago stopped exchanging presents with each other at Christmas; therefore presents were not placed under our tree. Every year, my hubby and I would invite those whom we knew would spend Christmas day alone, for a variety of reasons and circumstances, to spend Christmas in our home. I loved having folks over on December 25, sharing turkey and/or ham with all the trimmings. One year we had 24 people come for dinner; it was awesome!!! For that one day, each year, all those around our table were family. One Christmas Day, one of our guests questioned why no gifts. After hearing my answer she said, “Makes sense, but your tree looks bare and so sad with nothing under it”. Well we couldn’t have a sad looking tree now, could we? I could wrap empty presents every year and stick them under the tree. Nah, too much work. Then it hit me … pretty boxes. Christmas boxes come in all shapes and sizes. Many so pretty they require no wrapping. I began buying pretty boxes. Each year I set a new one under the tree. Problem solved.
This year, these boxes took on new meaning. I sat one day looking at the decorated tree with its pretty array of boxes and wondered… why? For what purpose did I go to all this length? The answer … simply for appearance. I felt a nudging and a stirring within me. There’s got to be more, but what? An answer came a few days later. A thought popped in my head out of nowhere. Reality…. I knew the Holy Spirit had come for a chat. We dialoged for a while, he and I, and the following is the outcome.
Christmas is the commemorative day the Christian world chose to remember the birth of Jesus. In other words the day we celebrate his birthday. Birthdays are a day, traditionally, when we give presents to the honoree. But on Christmas we give to each other, hmmm, I think we got it switched around somewhere along the line. Okay Lord, how do I, one person, put Christmas back into perspective. How do I give presents to you, to honor you? My eyes were drawn to the empty boxes under my Christmas tree. If I were to place, in each box, a gift for Jesus what might that look like? What could I possibly give? The, “Little Drummer Boy” song, as if on cue, began playing in my head. The Drummer Boy asked the same question. What he gave to the King was his very self, as he played his drum for Jesus. Ah, the lightbulb moment… Jesus’ desire is for me to give him me; my surrendered life serving him in whatever capacity he asks. “How do I wrap that one up, Lord?”
I noticed a box with the words all a glitter spelling out the word, “Joy”. I spied another box decorated with Gingerbread men and other treats. A gift of food and family; of times remembered. I found myself almost giddy as each box began revealing a gift I could offer for the Lord’s use. As I offer my life, in service to Jesus, he can work through me to touch others with the gift each one needs. In other words, if a person needs “Joy” I can offer a smile, or a kind word of encouragement wherever I am. Costs nothing and yet can be a priceless gift, much needed, at just the right time. The “Gift of Family”, as represented by the gingerbread box, means I could invite, not 24, but one or two who need to feel the warmth of belonging and being part of a family. A beautiful white box has the words, “Peace on Earth” inscribed in purple on the rim. What better gift to offer to another then the gift of acceptance amidst differences in an otherwise hostile world. A box which says, Believe; the gift of faith in a world which believes all hope is lost. A gold box reflects light from above, representing a priceless commodity, one even Donald Trump cannot buy with all his money; “the Gift of Time and a Genuine, Kind, Caring, Listening Ear” in a busy world.
These are but a few of the boxes under my tree. Each box has taken on a different meaning and serves to remind me the most precious gift I can offer to Jesus, on his special day, is the gift of me wrapped in a willing heart represented by boxes filled with love for the one whose birthday we celebrate.
As you think upon this Christmas season and the birth we celebrate, I ask each of you, “What gift will you place under the tree for the King of Kings”?
Until next time,