If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure what is given back to you (Luke 6:38, NLT)
This has been a CRAZY year to say the least….. Yet, the countdown to Christmas is still on and you can see the panicked faces of the shoppers even in the grocery store. I know you are thinking “how can you tell when everyone is wearing a mask”…. Watch as they leave the stores and take the mask off. Look and SMILE at people as you are sitting at a traffic light. You will see the stress on their face.
Everyone is worried about so many things this year……..finances, COVID, and this “new way of life”. Christmas is still for the children, I know the presents are not the true meaning but explain it to a small child who has been watching TV and seeing Santa bring gifts. So we shop online hoping to pick out the right gift for that someone special.
Can I tell you in some ways I am grateful Belinda is grown. Yes, the gifts are a little bit more expensive but they are also a lot more practical. Yes, I miss the wide eyed excitement of Christmas morning – I mean who wouldn’t, right? They are memories I struggle to remember but am grateful for the pictures.
Over the last 13 years, since Belinda left for college in North Carolina, our family has dwindled in size – the real meaning of Christmas as started to shine through. It is sad it took death, separation, recovery and major health issues to make me begin to see the real meaning of Christmas. Yes, we went to church. Yes, we sang all of the traditional Christmas carols. Yet, I still was worried about finding the perfect gift for everyone. My hubby’s family is not big on gift giving once someone turns 18 years old so we used to call him the “Grinch”. They would gather for holidays to spend time with each other and gave of their time. The true gift one can give someone…
I re-read a devotion on ibelieve.com to help me remember to give the gifts which truly matter this year – the gift of time, encouragement and prayer. I think back to the days when I used to make everyone’s holiday gift – holiday table runners, recipe rolodex, ornaments, etc. It was done because I didn’t have the money to spend on presents but I think some of them were the best gifts. I took the time to think of each person and what would mean something to them. I still like to do the handcrafted gifts, but I am not always the one making them. I have been blessed with friends who make some amazing things so it makes shopping a little easier.
The gift of time is probably the most precious gift to give someone. In this crazy COVID world, we need to take more time for our family and friends whether it is in-person or on zoom, skype or facetime. I have learned the importance of “seeing” people instead of just talking to them. You can truly get a sense for how people are when you see them – how well we jump to use the word “fine” when we are emailing or talking on the phone.
Being an absolute introvert, giving the gift of time to friends is a struggle. Probably sounds crazy since I am in direct sales, right? I am quite content to stay home seeing family. Yet I know, it is not good for my mental health or my recovery. The days I like myself are okay but on those off days, my mind can really beat me up. What about you? During these crazy times, are you learning to love yourself so you can freely give the gift of time to friends and family?
This year is the first year in our new home. New traditions. Missing Belinda and wishing she were home even though she visited in July. Life has had its ups and downs for all of us the last few months. I’m grateful for FaceTime and the time we spend together. Grateful for the time spent with Mom and the fact we are now closer so we can do things together.
The gift of time and encouragement – more precious than any material gift. Who do you know who would love these two gifts from YOU? Take a moment and remember the true gift of Christmas didn’t come wrapped up in a box with a fancy bow.
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!