Soon and very soon . . . we will have our annual Baptist Messenger Christmas party. Each year, I look forward with anticipation to this gathering of like-minded Baptists. It is not a large party, because the term “like-minded” plus “Baptists” limits it to a small group. If we were a large group of like-minded people, we would be Methodists or Presbyterians. Baptists are well-known for bragging on our doctrinal stance of the priesthood of the believer. Once you get more than four or five Baptist priests in one room, you can be sure they’ll find a way to disagree.

This year at the Christmas party, I plan to give a speech on “Guidelines for Buying Your Mate’s Christmas Gift.” Of course, no one has asked me to give a speech yet—but if they do, I want to be prepared. I wasn’t even thinking about Christmas until I turned on the radio and listened to “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” Even though it is almost 80 degrees outside, and Christmas is seven weeks away, I want to get started early. No more Christmas Eve shopping at Kwik Trip for me.

Men, I want to share some ideas about buying gifts for your wife. This comes from a man who thinks nothing says, “I love you” better than the word “pneumatic.” A useful gift for your wife like a Craftsman Professional 20.0 Volt Lithium-Ion 1/2-Inch Impact Wrench is not an option. Abandon any thoughts of something as practical as a toaster, blender or belt sander and think more in terms of “fluffy.” If my observations are right, Christmas is not meant to be practical, but pretty. If you can find fluffy house slippers, a fluffy house coat, fluffy pillows or even Fluffy the cat, you are well on your way to the perfect gift. Do you want to see your wife moved to tears on Christmas morning? Then give her something that says “fluffy.” Save the “pneumatic” gifts for her birthday.

Don’t ask one of your male friends what you should give your wife. First, he’s a man, so that disqualifies him from being able to assist you. Second, you don’t want to lose your only friend.

Don’t let prior experience guide you in purchasing this year’s Christmas gift. My wife loves angels, and she also loves clocks. One day in the jewelry store, I saw the most beautiful pendant. It was a delicate angel, wings lifted gracefully above her head to hold a clock. I knew instantly that I had hit gold. This was the perfect present! Immediately, I bought it and had it gift-wrapped. I couldn’t wait until Christmas morning. I deliberately gave it to her first so she could wear it the rest of the day. For weeks, I pictured the scene in my mind: my angel wearing the angel/clock pendant.

When Christmas morning came, I presented this most special gift to my wife. As soon as she opened it, a look of confusion came across her face. Our sons stared in horror. In unison, they asked, “Dad, what in the world were you thinking?” For the rest of the morning, I tried to justify my reasons for buying such an inappropriate gift. My boys kept using the word “gaudy.” I have learned that one man’s gold is his wife’s gaudy. The next day, we took the pendant back and got something . . . fluffy.

Ladies, buying a Christmas gift for your husband is easy. Just watch for key words like “52-inch,” “plasma,” “pneumatic” or “world’s largest.” Gifts that can be described with one or more of these words will be much appreciated. And when you shop for your man, stay away from gifts whose descriptions contain the words “neck size,” “adorable,” “scented” or . . . “fluffy.”

Have you ever wondered what Christmas was like around Jesus’ home? Trying to celebrate a birthday on Christmas can be a real challenge, yet that’s what Christmas is. Do you suppose we get so caught up in giving each other gifts that we forget that Christmas is really His birthday party?

I need to rethink the title of my speech. I guess I should call it, “The Buying Guide for Jesus’ Birthday.” I know of only one thing that Jesus wants from us: obedience. He tells us, “If you love Me, you will keep my Commandments” (John 14:18). Obedience is one gift that cannot be wrapped or put under a tree. Instead, it must be lived out daily in a person’s life.

The best present a couple can give their children is the gift of seeing Mom and Dad follow Jesus. It’s the only gift I know that says “fluffy” and “world’s biggest” at the same time. And I think even the like-minded Baptists can agree on that.

Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, e-mail, phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827)