Rite of passage parenting: The greatest gift
The older my children get, the harder it is for me to buy them Christmas presents. Not only do their ages make my shopping more difficult, but I’m also at the place in life where I don’t like fighting the crowds. The three wise men followed a star. But I find myself sitting in my car, waiting for someone to come out of the mall so I can follow them to their parking spot.
When my children were young, almost anything you could purchase at a dollar store would bring them great joy. By the time they were in elementary school, I had to keep up with the latest commercials, the source of their Christmas wish lists. Now that they’re grown, I don’t have a clue what they want. If they need or desire it, they can buy it themselves.
I don’t think the individual bottles of Aqua Velva aftershave lotion went over too well last year. Their lips said, “Thank you,” but their eyes were saying, “What were you thinking?”
I remember when my Grandma Moore reached this stage of her Christmas gift-giving life. That was the year she began giving gloves to all the men in our family. If you were a Moore male, you didn’t have to ask what Grandma Moore got you last Christmas or what she was going to get you next Christmas because we all got the same thing: gloves. She didn’t even give us different kinds; we got the same gloves every year. And every year until she went home to be with the Lord, it got harder and harder to act surprised.
My Granddad Scott had a similar problem. He reached the point where he gave each of us a brand-new dollar bill every Christmas. Our gifts changed from bicycles and telescopes to one-dollar bills. Granddad always went to the bank and got the envelopes with an oval cutout for George Washington’s smiling face.
I guess I’ve almost reached the glove and dollar bill stage. If I can find gloves at the dollar store, I’ll have completed the circle of life. Choosing the perfect gift has become a daunting task. I read a small piece written by Oren Arnold recommending what to give others for Christmas. To paraphrase his words: “To your enemy, give forgiveness. To your opponent, give tolerance. To your friends, give your heart. To your customers, give service. To all, give charity. To every child, give a good example. To yourself, give respect.”
Not a bad list at all.
I love the part of the Christmas story when the angels come to deliver the birth announcement. They didn’t go to the palace, but to those who were keeping the sheep. They didn’t come bringing a pair of gloves or a dollar bill, but the greatest announcement of all time:
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest Heaven, and on Earth peace to those on whom His favor rests” (Luke 2:10-14).
Have you received the greatest gift? I don’t mean a glove from Grandma Moore or a dollar bill from Granddad Scott. The greatest gift, sent by God Himself, was His only Son. I highly recommend Him.
Jesus came into the world so you could be put back into a right relationship with His Father. He came to give not only life, but also an abundant, overflowing, meaningful and satisfying life. Jesus is a precious gift. Have you received Him?
If not, bow your head right now. Talk to Jesus and ask Him to forgive you of your sins, to come into your life and take control. Then, thank Him for dying on the cross in your place.
The greatest gift I ever received came not from parents, grandparents or even my children, but from God: the gift of Christ, not only in Christmas, but also in my heart and life as well. If you find yourself troubled, remember what Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
To accept the world’s greatest gift, you don’t have to put on a pair of gloves, and you don’t have to spend a dime . . . or a dollar. Why not do it today?