Ed, my neighbor next door, is crankier than a hungry bear with an infected tooth. The fact that he and Ruby will be joining their family in Mexico for Christmas week has Ed snarling and snapping at everyone. I dared to ask him if he was buying Christmas presents here to take with them or if he would buy them in Mexico.
“Do you think I can even begin to think of buying Christmas presents when the cost of this trip has resulted in my financial crash? I always give Ruby a box of Pot of Gold chocolates for Christmas. No point this year, as they’d melt into a gooey mess in the heat there. Everything is messed up this year and I’m helpless – the innocent victim of family pressure. I think I’ll give Ruby a picture of Rex playing in the snow in our yard so she’ll be homesick in Mexico,” Ed grumbled on like he was going down on a sinking ship.
Seems to me, the month of December has a way of bringing on grumbling and complaining like it is an epidemic. People seem to shop for gifts more fervently and enjoy it less. Parties, concerts, family gatherings and events can become hectic and even stressful. It seems like everyone must get merry and anything less than festive is right at criminal. The unwritten rule is that it needs to be the best Christmas ever.
I asked Ed what gift he wanted for Christmas this year and he answered with what he didn’t want and was getting anyway – a trip to Mexico. Generally, when it comes to gifts, the best gifts cannot be bought with money. The lonely want company and recognition. The sick want recovery and health. The unhappy want gladness and lasting joy. The over-worked want rest and relaxation. Money won’t even buy what the rich want. The rich want to be richer. Rich or poor, people always want more money. At the heart of gifts wanted is the desire to have what we don’t have or to have more of what we have and like. At the heart of gift giving is presenting others with what is life changing and better than what they could have ever imagined.
Into our world that gets too much hatred, injury, discord, doubt, despair, darkness and sadness, God gave His son as a baby. Babies tend to bring the best out in people, that is, their parental love, hope, and joy. Most understand that a baby needs understanding, consoling, and generous, loving attention. Babies unite people in a desire for peace and safety, that is, they need a chance at life. God wanted us to have a chance at life with Him forever. So, his son was born of the virgin, Mary.
He was named Jesus, as he would save his people from their sins. He would be the gift of God for us forever. He would give us complete forgiveness of our sins and the resurrection and life with God in heaven in due time. The best gifts amaze us and change us. Receiving Jesus as God’s gift to us is a gift that keeps on giving and amazing us with God’s everlasting peace.