Phyllis Murray’s Devotional
“Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes from above. These gifts come down from the Father, the creator of the heavenly lights.” James 1:17
“For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son…” John 3:16
“Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11
It’s that time of year! Normally many people spend all year, and great amounts of money trying to buy the perfect gift for their loved ones. But this is a VERY different year, isn’t it? And besides what could we possibly need other than another pair of sweat pants to wear while zooming?
I’ve been thinking back on some of my favorite gifts over the years. Most of the gifts that I cherish involved the giver to give up part of themselves, their time, talents, control. One of my favorite holiday stories is the Gift of the Magi, where a couple each gives up something precious in order to give a loving gift to the other. If you’re not familiar, give it a read. The first Christmas gift I received from my late husband required him to forego several rounds of his favorite pastime, golf, in order to purchase it. I treasure it still. Another of my favorite gifts is a hand drawn storybook, written and illustrated by a beautiful 4 year old, (okay, her Mom printed the carefully dictated story) and still another is a nativity set created by the children of a dear friend. I love receiving pictures of friends to display, and always love a handmade ornament or craft.
When I look at the scriptures above, I think about the gifts, the perfect gifts, that God gave us. The gift of creation, where he gave us everything we would need to sustain life. He gave his son, knowing we would need an example of perfect love, and he gave us the Holy Spirit to continue to be with us throughout our lives. When I look at those gifts, I think of gifts I continue to receive. The gift of every morning conversation with my brother to share a daily devotion. Tracey Brown recently gave up some of the Potosi kitchen duties, so I could be reminded of many pleasurable hours I’ve spent cooking there. Sometimes someone gives me their energy to help me, or gives up resources to give to a cause I believe in. So what might I give this year? Perhaps time, to help someone put up a Christmas tree, or help them address cards. Perhaps I could read to someone over Facetime, someone who has lost their vision. Or perhaps I could offer to use someone’s favorite recipe to prepare for their families’ holiday meal, or do their shopping, if they no longer can.
It seems that the perfect gift, like those that God gives us, involves us giving of ourselves so someone else can feel loved and cherished. The Wise Men brought gifts that may seem strange to us, but were what Jesus would need. I hope we can all search our hearts instead of the stores and internet for those precious gifts of love in the coming weeks.