The Gift and the Giver: Merry Christmas!

A couple weeks ago, Dash was in such a hurry (and believe it or not, fighting with his sister) that he left on the bus without his bookbag (insert quivering lip of Dash here).  Knowing how much this would upset him, I drove the bookbag over to the school at my first opportunity.  Dash had just arrived and he & his (wonderful) Ed Tech (we’ll name her  Ms. Best) were just about to call me when I walked in the doors. He saw me come with his bag and his face lit up with the biggest smile and arms open WIDE. For a minute, I thought he was going to give me a big hug…but no, that was for his beloved book bag. “My book bag!” he said as he grabbed it.

Oh well… His smile defied his actions and hugged me anyway.  Pretty amazing to be able to give someone that much happiness with just one small action, one gift.

I was thinking about this and how Dash seemingly noticed the gift more than the giver of the gift, and thought about how often we do the same thing with the Giver gives us gifts. He wants us to seek Him first, not his gifts.

But when God gave us the ultimate gift, Jesus, He gave us a gift work seeking.

James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…”  Today being Christmas Eve, as I read this I think of the lights on the Christmas tree.  May the lights shining down on the gifts below, remind us of the Father who’s give His perfect gift in the form of a baby on Christmas morning.

While looking for that verse in James, I found a couple other verses that are worth pondering as we open gifts this Christmas.

The first is Deuteronomy 26:11 “Then you and the Levites and the foreigners residing among you shall rejoice in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household.”

The second is 2 Corinthians 9:8:  And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

This Christmas, let us rejoice in the Giver, the Gift, and rejoice in the good things God has given us, so that we will abound in every good work.

Merry Christmas everyone!  May our smiles and lit-up faces hug our Savior this year!

Unauthorized Paint

The other morning Dash was on one of his missions to destroy…in his quiet impulsive way so you don’t know what happened for a while after the deeds are done.

Quick like  a bunny hopping in the snow, he went went from thing to thing…first it was coloring in Princess Buttercups new Make Your Own Calendar, then he did that again… then he “smartly” moved on to fiddling with the buttons on my new teapot–took a while to figure out what those beeps were from!  And then…I noticed the paint.

Yes, the paint.  I sat down to look at my “art work” from the night before, and saw that he had gone in my drawer attached to my new easel and got a new tube of red paint… opened it and squeezed a big spiral right in the middle of my cobalt blue masterpiece!!!  Ok, it really was my first attempt at watercolors, and I was trying to practice different techniques I had read about, but boy did that infuriate me!!!  After all, I created that “imperfect work becoming art” piece!

While Dash was in time out, and I was trying to finish getting ready for church, I continued stewing over this.  It is so frustrating!  He had no right to ruin my creation like that.

And you know, I truly believe that God feels that way too… when someone “messes up” or mistreats one of His creations, His work of art…one of his children.  He hurts for us when we are mistreated–when someone markes up His masterpiece!

Often, at the time when we, or a loved one, are mistreated in some way, we don’t think of Him that way.  Maybe he seems distant or uncaring…after all, he DID allow it to happen, he could have stopped it, right?

Well, maybe, but one thing I do know and want to focus on is that He is not uncaring.  I mean, we just celebrated Christmas, the birth of Christ, The Savior entering into the world as flesh and  blood!  God sent his only son as a baby to save the world, because of His love for us. And because he sent him as a newly conceived baby, Jesus lived his entire life here.

He experienced everything we do, so that he could sympathise with us… or more to the point, so that we would KNOW he has been there, done that, had that happen to Him.  That WE would know that He has experienced everything we have been through, and can completely understand.  Not only understand, but Jesus went through all he did here in his life without ever sinning, not even a bad thought. He was perfect so that he could save us.  God cares THAT much.  His own perfect Son was brutally mistreated.  He understands.

Funny thing is, that he could have stopped it all whenever he wanted. He could have given up.  But he didn’t. It was because of the joy set before him: us, that he persevered.  And I am so eternally grateful, because if he gave up, stopped, or made things “easier” for him, then he would not be able to understand.  He would not have conquered all the struggles and temptations, he would not have given us hope that there is a way out.  And in a way, it would be hard to prove that He really cared that much.  But instead, God went to the ultimate extreme to demonstrated the depths of love he has for us…

The word “caring” is really an understatment.

Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”

Hebrews 2:17 “For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

Hebrews 12:2 “For the joy setbefore him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

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