Put Jesus on your Christmas List

“In Him was life, and life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” 

John 1:4-5

Most of us have already started the bustling around gathering gifts for those who love. 

Let’s see we got Billy a new gun, and Nathen an amazing backstage experience at Disney World, Brianna’s getting a personal gymnastics gym of her own, Jacob’s getting season passes to the best basketball team.

And Jenna, well she’s the most blessed of them all.

She gets me.  (I’m not sure that’s a blessing, lol)

Ok, I’m just kidding we didn’t really get our kids all that stuff. (Notice how I didn’t say anything about Jenna?)

My point is that we have already started getting our gifts ready to give out to others.

Does this stress you out?

It does me.

I kind of feel like Sheldon on the one episode of the Big Bang tv show where Penny gives Sheldon a gift.  I believe its season 2 episode 11 (no I’m not a genius, I have google. haha)

Anyways if you haven’t seen that episode I recommend you check it out.

But for those who don’t know what I’m talking about I’ll explain just a little so you can get the drift.

Penny tells Sheldon and Leonard that she wants to give them a Christmas gift. Then Sheldon freaks out because he wants to give her a gift of equal value.

So instead of going and buying something then being happy with it. He goes to the bath and body store and buys about 20 different baskets of different values.

Just so he’s prepared for whatever she might give him, he can reciprocate the exact amount that she gave him.

I have totally thought about doing the same thing.

If someone gets me a gift that is worth let’s say $20, I think oh man I totally overspent on them. 

On the other hand, if they get me a gift worth $500 I feel like my gift just wasn’t enough.

Why do we feel that way?

I don’t know and I’m not going to pretend that I do either. It’s just how it works.

Back to the real meaning, have you ever thought about adding Jesus to your shopping list?

I’m sure that a ton of us give to charities and nonprofits during this time of year.

But have you ever tried to go and buy a gift for Jesus?

Try it next time you are in the store.

Look around and see what you can find that he would like or need.

I’ll bet you anything (even though I’m not a betting man) that you can’t find one thing that Jesus could use.

A comb, nope his hair is perfect. A towel to dry off after his bath, nope. How about a new phone so he can keep in touch with…? Not that either.  How about a new truck so he can get anywhere he wants in style? Nope, he already has a better means of transportation.

Here’s the thing, at least for me. I know that I will not be able to give back as much as I have received from him.

Anyways back to the episode of the Big Bang Theory.

Penny starts with Sheldon and when opens his gift, it is a used cloth napkin. The look on his face was surprising. But before he can say anything, Penny tells him to turn over the napkin.  As he reads it his whole-body expression changes.

It reads, “To Sheldon. Live long and prosper. Leonard Nimoy”

He almost falls over. Then she quickly apologizes that the napkin is dirty and tells him that it’s because he wiped his mouth with it.  

Then Sheldon runs into his room and comes out with ALL of the baskets that he bought, and she says, Sheldon what are you doing.

He quickly responds, “I know. It’s not enough.”

Check out the short clip here.

The point of this is that as we go through the process of gifting and accepting gifts from others. You need to know that whether you think so or not, effort was put into the gift.

It doesn’t matter how much it cost, or what it is worth today. The gift you get is only worth the value you give it.

Take action

As you go into the Christmas season take a few moments to think of God and the gifts he has given to you.

Look throughout your life and actually think about where you are and where you have been.

Maybe you are at rock bottom or maybe you are at what you see as the peak of life.

Now, look through the journey you have been through.  What gifts did you get that made a HUGE difference in your life?

I’ll bet that the gift of Christ was one of those.

Now take a moment to think about the gifts you have given others.  Some might have been HUGE and some might have been small.  Did they make a difference in their lives?

When you go looking for gifts to give, know that it is not the price tag that matters, but the love that you put into it.

One last thing to do.

Right now, take out your phone and share our website with someone. www.GodFirstLifeNext.org.

You never know how it might change someone’s life to read this devotional or one of the other ones we have published.

Prayer

Lord, God, our father in heaven. Today we come to you with full hearts.  Our hearts are full of the love that you shared with us the day you gave us Christ.  You give us such great gifts that we can never even begin to repay you for.  We are so grateful that you are such a giver.  Lord, we pray that you help us to do our best to repay you with gratitude and love towards others.  Help us to show your love to those who really need it. Lord God today we pray that you would show us the perfect gifts for those in our lives. Maybe it’s something we might have never imagined, or maybe it’s something that we just know they will love. God, you have treated us so GREAT and are thankful for that.  Help us to show the world just how much you mean to us.  Help us to wear your name in our hearts so that when others see us they know that you are alive in our lives.  God thank you for the gift of Jesus. Thank you for allowing us to give gifts to others in your name. Thank you for this wonderful season and reason to celebrate in the dead of winter. Thank you.

In your precious son’s name.

Amen

A Little More

As I think back on some of the gifts that I have received, boy have I been blessed. I am taken back to one in particular.

It was a remote control crane that still works and my kids and nephews get to play with it because it is still in my old bedroom at my parents house.

This crane was pretty amazing. I don’t remember where I saw it, but boy did I want it.

Then one day before Christmas, mom sent me down to the cellar to get something. And she got a little suspicious when I didn’t come back up for a while.

The reason I didn’t come back up was that I poked around a little and found this tower crane remote control hiding.

I was mesmerized!

Anyways I had been down there for a while, so she decided to check on me. As I heard her coming I quickly covered it back up where she had hidden it.

Grabbed what I was sent for and closed the door as she reached the basement.

She asked what happened in there and what took so long.

To be honest I don’t remember what my answer was, I was  just excited that I knew what I was getting for Christmas.

For the next few weeks, I would run downstairs and into the cellar every chance I got. Then I would just sit there in the sand and look at it. 

A few weeks later when I opened the present for Christmas it was even better than when I found it hiding. Because now I actually got to play with it.

I ripped the box open and put in about a million batteries. And started playing right away.

I’m sure that my mom knew that I was looking at the present. And i’ll bet she was a little disappointed that I found her hiding spot.

The truth is that as a kid I was ecstatic about the gift, and she probably got the better end of the deal watching me play with it, and now watching her grandkids play with it.

You see I built up the hype of playing with the crane so much in my head before I even opened the gift that I was ready to start rolling as soon as I saw the package.

That also reminds me of when I woke up and dumped out my stocking and found girls’ underwear!  What the heck, why did I get girls’ underwear?

My brother, being the amazing big brother he was, love you, Russell. Told me it’s because mom and dad really wanted a girl, but instead got stuck with me!  So, I better let my hair grow out and start acting more like a girl.

Got to love big brothers.  Lol

Then dad came out of his bedroom and really played it up. “So, Danny, what did you get in your stocking?”

I went through everything but put the girl’s underwear to the side. 

Then he looked around and said, “What about those, what the heck are those? Did you get girls underwear? Danny, go try them on right now, let’s see how they fit. Oh, come on, let’s go! I want to see them!” of course, he was joking.

I looked up at him and said I think there’s been a mistake, I really don’t want unicorns on my underwear dad. I’ll get made fun of so much. (like anyone was going to see my underwear).

Then to top it off we went up to grandma’s for Christmas dinner that day and my lovely dad had told his brother, Jim to give me a hard time about it.

It lasted all day!

I still remember telling everyone that I was not going to wear them no matter what.

Then my aunt Frances and her family arrived. They had done the same thing with one of their girls.

That’s the thing with family, they love you even when they are teasing you. 

What’s a memory that you have from Christmas time? Share it on your Facebook page.

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