A Special Christmas Gift

christmas-giftAlthough I first wrote this true story for Perspectives in 2009, I think it’s worthy of a repeat.

Quite a few years ago, Terry suggested that I make a doll house for our seven-year-old daughter’s Christmas present. I agreed.

We drove our station wagon to the lumber store, purchased the necessary material, and headed home. Child restraints and seat belts were not what they are today, so Angie sat in the back of the vehicle on the small stack of lumber that would soon become her doll house.

As we drove home, she asked, “Daddy, what are you going to build with this lumber?” While I don’t clearly recall the answer I gave, I suspect my response was not exactly the whole truth and nothing but the truth. There was no way I was going to spoil the surprise Terry had in mind.

To keep the surprise a secret, I confined my work on the project to the garage after our children’s bedtime hours. On Christmas Eve Angie was totally surprised and thrilled. Terry was happy. The doll house hasn’t fallen apart after all these years. It was a special Christmas gift!

Much more special at Christmas is God’s gift—Jesus, the Holy Child born in Bethlehem’s manger. Having been long foretold, his birth was neither a secret nor a surprise. It was very special!

Heralded by angels to humble shepherds, sought out and worshiped by kings from afar, worshiped by people around the world after all these years, this King of Kings and Lord of Lords is the most special gift ever given!

Terry and I send personal greetings and fervent prayers for a Blessed Christmas!

Reasons to be Joyful at Christmas!

Christmas OrnamentLast week I invited readers to submit their reasons to be joyful at Christmas. Here’s a summary:

  • Singing carols from the Karaoke channel.
  • Christmas cards that renew friendships from long ago.
  • Carolers’ smiles and contagious children’s joy!
  • Heart-warming flowers of the season (poinsettias, amaryllis).
  • Grandchildren walking with the Lord!
  • Family eating, singing carols and opening presents, with no iPhones or iPads allowed!
  • Being blessed by precious memories.
  • Remembering that God is still at work revealing His Son, Jesus, to us.
  • Knowing Christ is with us and we are never alone, regardless of our circumstances.
  • Giving and receiving from those near and dear to us.
  • Loved ones, by God’s grace, successfully battling cancer and other dread diseases.
  • Sensitivity for people who have a difficult time at Christmas.
  • Grandkids whose faces light up when seeing a tree full of presents.
  • Special late night candlelight worship services on Christmas Eve.
  • Silent night, holy night! All is calm all is bright! Thank you Lord!
  • Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given!
  • His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!
  • Preparation, giving, family time, joyful memories of childhood.
  • Embracing those who live alone or experience grief of any kind.
  • Welcoming the future, confident my Lord will lead in a time of uncertainty.
  • Offering support to those suffering from illness, abuse, or addiction.
  • Acceptance of those who are “different” from me.
  • Enjoying good food and drink (in moderation, of course).
  • Giving to help eradicate world hunger.
  • Seeing everyone pitch in the day after to restore normalcy.
  • Recalling the blessedness of another Christmas with precious family time together!

And here are a few of my own:

  • Worshiping and celebrating Christmas with family, including my 99 year old mother!
  • Watching family members read my personal Christmas letter to each of them, check enclosed!
  • Thanking God for peace in the midst of pandemonium, tranquility in a season of terror, freedom in the face of oppression, light in the darkness, forgiveness in a manger in Bethlehem!
  • Knowing that a thousand times in history a baby has become a king but only once in history did a King become a baby!

A very Blessed, Christ filled and Merry Christmas to you all!

Some of God’s Greatest Gifts

Child 1This past week I saw a Facebook posting of a little child who was able to hear for the first time in her life. While I don’t recall all the details and tried in vain to find the posting again, what I do recall is that this little child initially cried when the hearing instrument was put in place. Soon thereafter her tears were replaced with a series of smiles at hearing her first sounds. Priceless!

Throughout my life I’ve been guilty of taking for granted the God-given senses of hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch. I’ve never experienced what life is like without them and the older I get the more aware I am of the blessings they bring. I’ve also become more keenly aware of the challenges faced by people who are either born without all of these senses or who lose one or more through illness or injury.

So if you, like I, have been blessed with all five senses and if all of them are still working, count your blessings and be sensitive to what life is like for anyone who is not so blessed. If you are without the ability to see, to hear, to smell, to taste or to touch, thank God for the senses you do have. And be assured that many of us have special respect and admiration for your determination to live life without all of these five senses, some of God’s greatest gifts.