Category | Devotional

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by Bob Perks

This holiday season I have been on a special mission.
I call it “In search of the Waltons at Christmas.”

So many people seem to be struggling this year
with family relationships. I have overheard them in the
malls and department stores.

“Well, I’m not spending much on him this year. I don’t
even like him. I’m doing this because I have to!”

One woman filled with the spirit of giving said: “I’ll
buy this and keep it upstairs. If she doesn’t have
something for me I’m not wasting my good money on her.”

Although the Waltons had typical brother/sister clashes
mixed with a few inter generational disagreements, they
were very much intact as a family. I believe many viewers
tuned in longing for that special place where all problems
were resolved in an hour.

My search recently took me to a local church where I sat
thinking about the meaning of it all. After about ten minutes
a father and young child about five years old walked in
breaking the silence and disrupting my meditative state. In
reality the peace and quiet nearly lulled me off to sleep.

“Daddy, look the manger!” the young boy said.

“Is that Santa over there?” he asked pointing to one of the
three wise men.

“No, son. They are the Three Kings bringing presents to
Jesus.” replied Dad.

“Christmas presents?”

“No. I guess you can say they are birthday presents.
Remember we told you that Christmas is really our
celebration of the birth of Jesus.”

The young boy paused for a moment seemingly satisfied
with Dad’s answer. Then, as children will do, asked the
unanswerable question that warms your heart and often
puts you in your place.

“Daddy, what are we giving Jesus for His birthday this year?”

Silence. Then drawing on the wisdom of the ages and
the creative parental genes that make us what we are,
Daddy said…”I don’t know. Ask your Mom.”

They left right after that. Peace and quiet returned to this
great sanctuary leaving me to think about what that child
had to say. If I were there that sacred evening drawn by
the light of the star of Bethlehem what gift would I offer Him?

I really had no idea. First, I can’t begin to imagine kneeling
before Him in the presence of Joseph and Mary.

But a gift from me to Jesus? What thing of value could I
possible give to my Lord?

This was a thought that overwhelmed me. I pride myself
in having the ability to at least come up with options, choices
for people who share their personal problems with me. But the
thought of me having anything that Jesus would want brought
tears of sadness for I felt I had nothing to offer Him.

So, I did what the young child had done earlier. I turned to
my Father and asked…”Oh, God what could I possibly offer
your Son as a gift? I really have nothing of value.”

I sat quietly and totally oblivious to the world. A small voice
inside my soul said “The same thing He had given you. His Life!
Give Him your life. Not sacrificed on a cross. But lived to
honor Him.”

I wept openly.

Here is my message to you celebrating the birth of Christ
and to each of you who value your faith whatever it may be.

The greatest gifts exchanged this Christmas will not be
those found wrapped under your tree or shared in sacred
ceremony dedicated to your God. The greatest gift of all, more
valuable than gold, not traded on Wall Street, not
held in vaults for safe keeping…is YOU!

You are the greatest of all gifts given to this world, your family,
and your community. Your wealth is not in your checking
account, but your actions, your life, your spirit as you live a
positive, passion filled existence. That makes you valuable
beyond measure.

My gift to you this Christmas is this message. Sorry it wasn’t
wrapped in fancy paper. It was really much too big. It is about
your life. Now live it.

P.S. “Goodnight, John Boy!”

“I wish you enough!”

© 2001 Bob Perks – Originally published 1999)

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