I was driving down the road the other day listening to one of our local Christian radio stations. The DJ asked people to call in and share something that helps them keep Christmas in its proper place.
As I was listening, this lady called in from Pennsylvania and said she has several Amish friends in the area (she is not Amish). One evening during a Christmas party she was talking to one of the Amish guys and asked him how his family celebrates Christmas.
He shared with her many of his favorite family traditions and how special each one was to him. She went on to ask if his family gave each other gifts on Christmas morning.
“Oh yes!” He said joyfully. “We love giving Christmas gifts. Each person usually receives 2-3 gifts per year and it’s a wonderful time.”
“Only 2-3 gifts per person?” The woman asked raising her eyebrows. “So…what do you do if someone doesn’t like one of their gifts?”
Confused by her question he looked at her puzzled.
“You know…” She continued. “What if you give someone something and they just don’t care for it. What would you do?”
He paused for moment, then said with a big smile, “It’s a gift! Why would anybody not like a gift?”
I was instantly convicted the moment I heard him say that simple, but profound statement. His question is SO true!
Why would anybody not like a gift?
I immediately thought of all the times I had received a generous and thoughtful gift and secretly thought, “What in the world am I going to do with this?!” Or “Why would someone even think I’d want this?!” Or “I can’t wait to return this one!”
My heart has been plain rotten at times in the past when it comes to receiving GIFTS. His comment really challenged me to evaluate my perspective and heart going into this Christmas season.
I was challenged to view every gift I receive as a huge blessing.
I don’t deserve even a single gift, and the fact that my family members love me enough to spend their money on a gift for me is enough of a reason to celebrate – regardless of what’s inside the package.
I was also challenged on a much bigger scale as I thought about the ultimate gift that was given to all of us during Christmas.
I don’t know about you, but this time of year can be SO busy that I completely lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. I can become so focused on getting my “Christmas list” checked off that I forget to acknowledge the reason Christmas even exists! I forget to take time to thank God for His incredible Christmas gift, the baby Jesus Himself.
Thanks to an Amish guy that I don’t even know, my heart has been refocused this Christmas season.
I want to challenge you in two areas that I am striving to do this week.
1. Regardless of what you receive (or don’t receive) this Christmas, choose to have a grateful heart! A gift is a gift and should be received with gratitude and joy.
2. Set aside some time to thank God for the ultimate gift He gave in bringing a Savior to this world. Read the story of baby Jesus in Luke 1 & 2 and praise God for sending a Savior for you and me!
I pray your Christmas celebration is a wonderful and blessed one this year…but not because everything goes perfectly for you or you get everything on your list, but because you have a grateful heart to God for all of the blessings He has already given you.
What about you?
Were you convicted by the words of the Amish guy? Do you have true gratitude in your heart for the gifts you receive?
Have you been focusing on Christ this Christmas, or have you been too busy checking off your list? What can you do to focus your heart and mind on Jesus this week?
Photo credit: www.flickr.com | Ardyiii