~a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.
Hmm... I think to myself, a day when no work is done. So a holiday season would therefore be a season when no work is done. Uh yeah, right! Most of us women go into hyper overdrive during the 'holiday' season. Stress descends upon us like an unwanted fog as we muddle our way through the 'holiday' season trimming the tree, the house, the dog, the car, whatever we can find to trim. Writing the cards, crafting or hunting for those perfect gifts, tossing our spare change into those Salvation Army tins, and then rushing home to bake those cookies and pies. Ahhh, relaxation, right? Mmm, not so much. Maybe, just maybe, we need to rethink this American tradition of ours, this holiday season in which we work ourselves into a frenzy. Maybe, we Christians need to purposefully not conform ourselves to the mold of the 'holiday' season, and instead think outside the "traditional Christmas gift" box.
Ponder this question: What is the greatest gift, the most perfect gift you want? I will tell you mine.
Quiet time, slow time, peaceful time. Time with those I love, time for those I love, not doing, just being. Now that is my definition of a holiday!
And I wonder if perhaps it isn't THE gift we should give to others? What would my husband, friend, sister, father, mother, child want most, that I can give? A thing? A trinket? A toy? When I look back on my childhood, I really don't remember the presents opened. I remember moments; Moments spent with people who loved me, and how I felt when in their presence. Those moments seem suspended-forever frozen in time- within my memories. They are precious, and can be recalled to comfort as needed.
That is what I want to give. My sweet grandchildren, my children, my friends, my extended family and church family and that wonderful man God gave me to journey through life with; I want to give of myself to them, my time, my energy, my words, those feelings of warmth I have for them. And I want those feelings, those memories to be with them, long after I am gone.
But I have a confession to make. Sometimes, it is easier for me to give things and spend money rather than give my time. I am selfish with my time. I have agenda's and lists of things to do, practically every day. I have a morbid sense of pleasure from crossing off items on lists. I don't usually put "Share time" on my list. Oh, I have the 'scheduled' time on the agendas; time with a struggling young Christian, Bible studies, work projects for others. The 'scheduled' time is easy, it is the unexpected moments of need that arise, when someone really needs to talk or needs my time- on their timetable. I struggle with this type of sharing time. It is this that I have asked God repeatedly over the years to help me with. And He is gracious to guide me and help me in this request. It is as if I feel Him putting His hands on my shoulders, squaring me up, getting me to focus -not on myself-, and then quieting my spirit, so I can give freely of myself and my time to others. I have learned to abandon my agenda, and take on His. Or rather I should say, I am learning. As a result, my house is not as tidy as it once was, and projects get left undone. And I am perfectly OK with that.
Acts 20: 35 "In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
and then there is this wonderful verse
Luke 6: 38 Give, and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you in return.
Giving or sharing our time may be hard. But it is the gifts given out of sacrifice , that tend to mean the most to others, that will live on in memory and are certainly most pleasing to our Lord and Savior. After all, the greatest most perfect gift ever given was most certainly hard for Him, the ultimate sacrifice, giving His life, shedding His blood for us to be forgiven and to live eternally with Him.
So I challenge you to think 'outside the traditional Christmas' box this season, and share yourself. I promise you that gift won't be returned! Except in blessings to you.