Archive for December 21st, 2006


Thursday, December 21st, 2006

Today’s scripture: John 1:1-18 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Kay Olry):

As a child growing up, this time of year was so magical — not because we had so much, but because my mom was so good at remembering everyone’s favorite things.

I have seven sisters and brothers, so my mom really had her hands full trying to keep us all happy. We lived in a house with three bedrooms and only one bathroom; money was scarce a lot of the time, and we learned early on that expensive presents weren’t possible.

It never seemed to matter much, though. My mom would make sure each of us had one “big” present, lots of smaller packages to open, and a full stocking — even if she needed to put in an apple and an orange to make it fuller. She made sure that each of us also had the same number of gifts to open. She spent so much time and care in putting it all together, that every Christmas was full of joy.

The weekend after Thanksgiving was when the holiday started, with big, colorful lights, Christmas streamers hanging from the ceiling, bus rides downtown to see the light displays, and cookies from Scotland (which is where she was from). Looking back, I hardly remember any of the gifts that I received. Whatever was so important to me at 10 has long ago been forgotten.

There was, however, one more gift that she gave to each of us, which we never even realized we were getting until we became adults. We always knew that Christmas was really about the baby born in Bethlehem, and that what we were truly celebrating was His birthday. We would go to church as a family, and the love and peace of the Christ Child filled our souls with wonder.

My mom passed away about seven years ago. I remember a night in the hospital a couple of days before she died. She was hallucinating (maybe), but it was also obvious that she was reviewing her life. I heard bits and pieces of words as the night grew longer. None of what I was able to make out was about things — only memories of family.

Most of my sisters and brothers have children of their own — even grandchildren. We continue to pass on the gift that Mom gave to us, and that has proven to be the most special gift of all: It is the gift of our faith. She taught us that there was a God in the universe, and that His Son humbled Himself enough to become one of us.

If cash is tight this Christmas, and you’re worrying about all of the things that you can’t buy for your kids, stop worrying! Just make some memories the best you know how — and remember, the Grace and Peace of Jesus are available for free.

As the commercial says, some gifts are just priceless. . .

Merry Christmas!

Thought for the day: During this Advent season, are you preparing your heart to understand “the reason for the season”?

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: All who need to know the Love, Hope, and Peace that still comes to us through Christ. At this time of new beginnings, pray that Jesus will be born anew in each of us.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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