Somehow, not only for Christmas
But all the long year through
The joy that you give to others
Is the joy that comes back to you.
And the more you spend in blessing
THE POOR AND LONELY AND SAD,
The more of you heart's possessing
Returns to you glad.
-John Greenleaf Whittier
I am overwhelmed by the gifts I hear people are buying at Christmas. I feel obligated to keep up with the Jones'. I worry that Erik will return to school and upon comparing Christmas gifts with the other kids he will feel shorted. But I refuse to give into this material pressure. It is not the gifts that will make him happy. But the time spent with his family. As I watched him pogo around the cabin we rented for Roger's birthday or as he and Roger play the video game Erik bought him we are creating a memory that the toy itself cannot compare with. Toys, and things get discarded, we get bored with them. If we could just give a little more to the poor, lonely and sad and a little less to ourselves I believed we'd receive more joy. I have a family that is blessed with all their needs and then some. I know there are so many without. There are so many I wish I could just share with. Still I cannot fix the world's problems: the hunger, the abuse, the sad, the lonely, or even global warming. But I can try and make a difference in small ways. In the end it is God who is in control and no matter how much man tries to fix things we can't. We all play just a small part in this great big world.
Luke 14:12 Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
It is fun to give to our loved ones, especially little children whose faces light up when they open a present. It is great to show our love through thoughtful gifts. I enjoy preparing a special meal for friends and family. I think there is so much pressure sometimes with the buying, the preparing, and it is harder and harder to find the perfect gift. I think the perfect gift I could get from my children would be a letter each year from each of them that tells me of the happy memories from that year, or what they appreciate and are thankful for. I wish I'd thought of it sooner so I could of started sending one to my mom each year. Only a mom could appreciate a gift like that. Or maybe we all could???