[CF Devotionals] 2007-12-21 - One More Gift

My family has been trying, as I know others are as well, to pare down and simplify our Christmas activities, so that we can focus more intently upon the true "Reason for the season," and soak up every moment of this fleeting life with family and friends. But this week, I'm actually going to challenge us all to ADD one item to our holiday agendae.

If you are like me, you have expended much time and effort trying to buy just the right present for friends and family. Not in the interest of materialism or consumerism - but rather as an expression of love for those people that matter to us. And many of us have also bought items for those who are struggling financially or have been victims of disasters, in hopes of making their Christmases a little brighter.

I'm going to ask us all to add one more Person to our recipient list. What gift can we give God this Christmas? What is on His wish list? Here are some helpful hints:

God desires fo us to love our neighbors as ourselves. How can we help others to have a more joyous Christmas season?

Some ideas: Give a very attentive listening ear to someone who is having a painful holiday season. Leave an anonymous gift bag of goodies on the doorstep of a neighbor who has hit financial hard times. Send a card or note to someone who is lonely, or better yet - pick up the phone and call them, yes even if it's "long distance." A call would probably cost less than a movie ticket or book that we might purchase for ourselves. Or if your grocery store has a collection bin, purchase a few items for those who can't provide for their families - and don't get them second-rate food. Buy for them what you would buy for your own family! Think of how you would feel, if you were in that position.

God desires for us to "pray without ceasing."

Ideas: If you don't have a daily devotional time, start one. If you do, add a few minutes of silent listening. Or "branch out" in your prayers. If you normally pray for family and friends, wonderful! But add your neighbors that you don't know so well, our governmental leaders, Christians who are persecuted regularly for their faith - or whomever God brings to your mind.

God desires that we worship Him - and Him only.

We can take a few minutes from our normal leisure pursuits, and spend them in personal worship time - reading the words of a hymn, starting a read-through of a book of the Bible, or just thanking Him. All of us can find something to praise Him for.

God desires that we let our lights shine before the world.

Ideas: Stand out. Be different. Make a difference. When someone cuts you off in traffic, send up a prayer for them. If a clerk is rude, ask her or him how their week is going, instead of reporting them to "Management." Show a little grace, which we ourselves have all been shown, simply by virtue of being God's children. Don't let the 'grinch'© of political correctness steal your Christmas spirit. Yes, it would be a lot more pleasant if they would have a liberal and generous spirit, and tolerate our celebrations, as we do theirs. But we should -pray for the people who find offense in our celebrations, and continue to be tolerant of theirs. I admit that this is the one that comes the least naturally to me.

These ideas are a starting point.

If you want to share, I would love to hear your ideas, the gifts you choose for God - and I will share mine with you, as well - unless you feel better about keeping it "just between you and God." I hope each one of you has a meaningful and joyous Christmas.


[email jan] cfdevcfpray@yahoo.com