Thursday, December 15, 2011


            For a few minutes I thought I had stumbled into the wrong gathering. Usually the group of friends I meet for lunch each week are upbeat and positive. This week they, as one described their mood, had their knickers in a knot over uncompromising demands upon family time, gifts and gatherings.

A new heating and cooling system - an unexpected "gift".

           Dan and I just recently had a conversation about how so many difficult situations seem to develop around the Christmas season. We personally have been hit with unforeseen expenses, friends with life threatening illness, deaths and other issues. Tragedy, stress and sadness seem to be head line news all around the globe.

           The reason is obvious. Circumstances can take our focus off of the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Personally, we have made a conscious effort to de-stress holidays as best as we can. Instead of the hustle and bustle of shopping for that perfect gift and racing from one house or event to another, we are making every effort to keep it simple. This year, we decided not to stress out trying to find anything that our children and grandchildren do not already have. We are giving more “practical” gifts and making donations to charities in their names. Of course, practical can have a broad definition in grandparent land. We are asking simply for gifts of time with family.

          We were thrilled that our daughter in law and son began Thanksgiving Day with a family 5K fund raiser for a local food bank. (Though we have yet to see the footage, it is rumored that Nana and five year old grandson Joshua finished dead last.) They understand the importance of teaching children the value of giving. Even more importantly, they understand the value of teaching them about the only perfect gift.

"Jesus, What Happened"

          At Bible study this week, after confessing her obsession of buying a gift for herself each time she purchased one for the person on her list, our leader began the lecture with the word perfect. Webster’s first definition: complete in all respects; flawless. Why do we even attempt to purchase perfect gifts? The perfect gift of course is Christ. His gift to us: complete in all respects, flawless!

For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.... Lo, I have come to do thy will... And every priest stands at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifice, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God ... For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

Hebrews 10: 11-18:

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