This year, I’ve had a hard time thinking about what I want. I’m a little grateful that no one has really asked. Maybe they all already have something in mind, but even if they don’t, I will be grateful for whatever I receive. I have had Christmases where I’ve hardly received anything, and ones where I have received more than I could possibly imagine. Years of little, and years of plenty. Last year, as I stated last week, was a year of little giving for me, but I still managed to eek out gifts to everyone I cared about – which is what I really care about. It’s one of my “love languages”, if you will. I love to show the people I care about – that I care, by giving gifts. Everyone in my life means so much to me that I just want to show appreciation. I spend a lot of time, thinking about what I’m getting others. Not necessarily stressing over it, but just really trying to make sure I get the perfect gift. The ever-illusive “perfect gift”. Some years, I’ve nailed it, and as my husband has been reminding me this year as he ponders what I got him – some years, I have totally missed the mark. Several years ago, for our anniversary, I got this beautiful quote, blown into a full-size poster and framed and gave it to him…. Not really my husband’s style, but he graciously accepted the gift, and didn’t say much about it for a long time, but I knew as soon as he saw it… not really the gift he wanted. Which happens. Happens to all of us. Both as the giver, and the recipient, but life goes on.
I also have a particularly hard time because I’ve lost someone close. I lost my dad a couple years ago, and this was his FAVORITE Holiday. He was like a giant kid. And he loved giving. After I grew up, we would go shopping for Christmas together, because between you and me – he was not the best at picking what people wanted. He would steal my ideas! I actually started making 2 lists a few years ago, a list of items that he could buy our loved ones, and a list that I would use. But, we would go shopping together, and I would help get him pretty well set for gift-giving at Christmas. And, the year before he died, I was able to give him the best Christmas gift I could imagine. I was able to take him to a Dallas Cowboys Game. An entire trip where we just laughed and had a great time, and had all sorts of memories I will never forget. And I am so grateful that God gave me that opportunity (because I was the runner-up in a drawing to win the tickets, and the first winner had turned them down because they had just watched a game the weekend before! – Are you kidding me? #Godshowedup!) So, that makes this time of year bittersweet. And, I’m sure it’s bittersweet for many.
But, I already feel like I’ve received an incredible gift this year, and I’m just so grateful. So grateful that my God, is such an incredible God, and he knows what we need. This year, I was working with my dad’s Bible Study group to give donations to local charities, and when I called one of the charities to let them know we would be making a donation, and asked where to send the check etc. The lady started telling me that she used to work with this older gentlemen at this same time of year and he was such a great guy, and that sadly he had passed away a few years ago but she was so grateful someone else was doing this. And, I asked, if the gentlemen’s name was my dad’s name. And she said, “Yes, how did you know?” I said, “Yes, that was my dad.” And, she told me how sorry she was that he was gone, but thanked me again profusely… And, I’m just so grateful, that he’s not gone. He lives in here <3, in all the people that he’s touched. And, he will continue to live on.
Now, I’m telling you all of that, to tell you this. My dad wasn’t always like this. But, as he grew in his faith, and followed God, he began giving. He knew it was important to help those in need. It is one of the most important things that we will ever do. To shine the light and love of God on those around us. To give. As Christ gave, as God gives, because we are here to be thankful, to be grateful for what we do have, because there are those that don’t have, or maybe things we don’t have. But we have God. And he will always provide. He will always give us what we need. And, I find it hard to think about what I want, because I don’t want. I have everything I need. I have everything the Lord has given me, and I couldn’t be more grateful, thankful, and blessed.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18 (NIV)
“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” – 2 Corinthians 4:15 (NIV)
“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Ephesians 5:18-20 (NIV)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 4:6 – 7 (NIV)
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” – 1 Chronicles 16:34 (NIV)
“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” – Psalm 69:30
“Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.” – Psalm 95:2-3
“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” – Psalm 9:1 (NIV)
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for all that you do. Thank you for all that you are. Thank you for your blessings of overflow. Thank you for your amazing grace, and for your supernatural peace. Thank you Father, for sending your son to die for us, and giving us the gift of Salvation and the ability to come live in Heaven with you. That you saved us, and that you love us. Thank you for all that you are Father, and all that you would have us be. I pray that each person who reads this is blessed this season. That you ease any suffering they might have, that you mend wounds and bridges, that you bring us all together in your love. That watch over us and guide us in your ways. That everyone may feel as eternally grateful and blessed and thankful as I do. That my heart is overfull, and you are the Good Father who provides that. IN JESUS’ NAME! AMEN!!
This particular cause is important to me as I have known too many people to be the victims of domestic violence. Please take a moment to consider donating to your local domestic abuse shelter. I’m putting my local one up here because everyone needs help everywhere.
Brookings Domestic Abuse Shelter