Each year it seems the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas becomes shorter. There are always parties to attend, family and friends to visit, delicious treats to prepare and gifts to purchase. This year, my family (my parents, brother, sister-in-law, nephew, nieces and myself) filled some of that time with a 4 day vacation at Disney World beginning the day after Thanksgiving. It was a joy and a blessing. Since returning home from the trip, I find myself remembering little moments…things like my three year old niece saying, “you can’t be mad or sad at Disney World”. What a great reminder to keep proper perspective, to think about where you are (Disney World is the happiest place on earth!) and be happy and joyful about your circumstances. Sure, the streets of Magic Kingdom were tightly packed with people that at times you could barely step left or right and spending 2 hours in line for 1 ride would not have been our first choice, but we were at Disney World and there were many reasons to be thankful. The time with family was a true gift from above and I treasure the memories.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is not variation or shadow due to change. – James 1:17
I spent several of the last 24 hours wrapping presents and thinking about gifts. There is much care, thought and personalization that goes into each gift that is chosen, selected specifically for the intended recipient. Gifts are very personal; given to benefit one person (not a crowd); and costly, requiring the giver to sacrifice time, effort and money to secure a unique gift that will bring the recipient joy. Once a gift is chosen, it is wrapped in tissue and carefully placed in a box that is often wrapped in sparkling paper and adorned with a big, beautiful bow. Each gift is labeled to ensure it is opened by the one for whom it was chosen. The gifts are on display under the tree and anticipation grows as Christmas morning approaches.
Sometimes you can look at the wrapping and guess what treasure is hidden underneath, but the best gifts are always the ones that come unexpected – out of nowhere.
And the angel came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
– Luke 1:28-33
– Luke 1:28-33
The perfect gift came to Mary in the most unexpected way. The perfect gift was very personal...for Mary and for each of us. The perfect gift was given to benefit every individual person who would believe. The perfect gift was costly, requiring great sacrifice. The perfect gift was wrapped in light. The perfect gift was not placed under a tree, but was nailed to a tree. The perfect gift waits to be received and when our hearts awaken to receive the gift, we find joy.