This was a beautiful, faithful and public gathering in Christ's name. I hope you watch it to the end. It's very touching.
Which gets me to my point tonight. It's nearing Christmas and I'm feeling in the spirit for gatherings, sharing, and good memories.
And gifts? I wish not. In these economic times when we should be sorting out our finances, retraining how we spend, and saving money for emergencies, it's hard for me to spend money on things for people that they'll probably not like so much and don't need. Long gone are the days when Christmas lists were written so parents would know what to get. Instead, the family is growing exponentially, the weather's cold, time's short, and who knows what anyone wants.
I usually try and get what someone needs instead, especially for adults. Most times, however, even that's unknown, except the most expensive stuff - car, stove, work on the house, furniture.
But in my complaining, I realize that I'm being selfish and need to think on what Christmas is really about. Instead of complaining, I could look to give true gifts of Christmas - items that reflect the gift of God and the sacrifice of Christ. That would be a challenge, one that all of a sudden is quite exciting to think of trying to meet. Not everyone in my family is a believer, but that doesn't matter, because this is what Christmas is all about.
To put in different words, here's a writing prompt:
A Christmas gift of transformation.
This is a poem I wrote from the prompt. I invite you to post a writing to this prompt as a comment.
A True Christmas Gift
With eyes closed and wishing for the best,
seven-year-old Anderson instead learned
his parents failed the Christmas Spirit test.
No Christmas lists for Anderson to post,
no lines to Santa to wait expectantly in,
only parents so tired they resembled dreary ghosts.
In the living room, was a skinny fake tree
which Anderson eyed – it looked as dry as toast.
They failed to notice his tears or his heart so broken,
that he wished Christmas was another time – almost.
The night moved slowly, until he drifted asleep.
Upon waking, he smelled what seemed to be Christmas.
Jumping out of bed, Anderson took a quick leap
down the stairs and, with eyes wide open,
he saw what could only be ...
a true gift of Christmas, not just a token.
In the arms of his mother, looking so small,
was a baby, newborn, cuddled up close.
Turning his head to peer through the hall,
in the kitchen was a Christmas breakfast feast
fit for a king, his family and all.
Cinnamon steeped in tea and chocolate,
and stockings hung near a very real tree!
Underneath was a small bassinet.
Did his family suddenly grow
to four from three?
to four from three?
"You came down just in time,"
said Anderson's mother, her voice filled with delight,
"This is your brother, a new heir in our line.
We've adopted him and he needs our love,
so he can learn, as you have so fine,
the true spirit of Christmas.
"What is his name?" Anderson couldn't help but ask.
"You tell us. Look in his eyes and hold him close,
because a name is not something you can remove like a mask."
His father added, "We've been so busy bringing him home.
You're seven years old now, and this is your Christmas task."
Anderson squealed with joy,
"This is the best Christmas day and gift.
This is much better than any old toy."
No more lonely days ahead,
Anderson's seventh Christmas
brought more happiness to his world, instead.