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Now That Christmas is Over Again


After Christmas, there are unwrapped gifts on the coffee table and piano bench for about a week. I'm in no hurry to straighten things up. I rather like the disorderly collection, combined with memories of the faces as they opened their presents with joy. We have a simple system on Christmas day: Our children distribute the gifts to the nine of us, and then we all open them at the same time, shouting "thank you" to each family member one on top of the other. Then our children (even as adults) empty their Christmas stockings (shaped like Santa's pants--something that Norman H. found in a gift shop).

Giving and receiving are roots of Christmas. Christ gave, and many of us have received. And every year at Christmas, we celebrate the enormous blessing of Christ's Ultimate Gift of salvation with our tradition of exchanging gifts. But now that Christmas is over, what will you continue to give? Here are some ideas:

1. Give time to important matters. "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is you life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." (James 4:14) By this time next year, wouldn't you like to look back and have the satisfaction of knowing that you used your numbered days wisely? While the calendar is still fresh, plug in the essentials, and then add the non-essentials rather than the other way around!

2. Give the benefit of the doubt more often. "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." (Matt. 7:12) We know this verse as the "Golden Rule," but like a speed limit sign, it is often ignored! We really appreciate it when people are quick to forgive us, but are we as quick to forgive others? This makes a great gift. Don't wait until next Christmas to give this to someone in need.

3. Give everyone more love. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) Jesus said it right: We haven't even begun to love people like He loved us. "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." (John 15:12) "Copy me," is what Christ has said to us. When we love people like He loved us, we will put their needs ahead of our own. This is not self-neglect; it is selfless love. There is a difference.

I hope that your Christmas was blessed and meaningful. Before you take down the tree and store all the decorations, consider making the coming year your thank-you note to God.

"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." (II Cor. 9:15)

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