As I sat looking at the presents under my tree—it occurred to me that I’m much more excited about others opening the presents that I’ve bought for others than looking for ones set there for me.
I’ve grown up from the little girl who focused only on herself and what she was getting.
And I think growing up in our faith is a bit like this too when we realize there is a bigger, better purpose than just our own happiness in this life.
This hard year, this truth seems all too real.
As I write, here in Knoxville, Tennessee, we are now being called one of the worst places for this pandemic on the planet.
Folks I know are sick. People I know have died.
And our country, it’s so divided. Our leaders, well, that’s a whole other story.
I’m weary. Are you?
And it’s Christmas.
So, we should make some cookies.
My friend Charlene did.
Years ago, Charlene’s family’s house burned down. They lost everything and barely escaped with their lives.
A couple of days later, Charlene baked cookies and she and her young son went out delivering them to neighbors and others.
In her pain, Charlene deliberately loved on others and taught her son to do the same.
And in the pain of this year, in the hard times we are living, I’m thinking about what Charlene did.
She refreshed others and, in doing so, she refreshed herself. (Prov 11:25)
Though Charlene has continued to face some hard things in her life, including her husbands’ chronic illness, and her son’s recent heart surgery, she is still one of the most joy-filled people I know.
And those who know Charlene are likely to hear about her Savior. The King.
And there is a King. There’s still a King.
And now, oh especially now, our lives should be focused on Him and making Him known to others.
Yes, there is a bigger, better purpose than just our own happiness in this life and in this year.
I’m having to reset my mind to that truth.
But…When this is our focus, we realize even hard things, things that don’t look at all like “good gifts”, like Charlene’s loss of her home in that fire, and this most difficult year, can be used as opportunities for others to see Jesus in us for His glory.
And the funny thing is— God, the ultimate gift giver, who cannot be out-given, gives us the gift of great peace when He is our purpose in the good days AND the hard ones.
What a gift we have in Jesus! The greatest gift of all!
May He be glorified in us and through us this CHRISTmas season and all year through!
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17
And PS my talented niece made those lovely cookies!