I looked forward to this last Christmas. Mainly because of shopping for and giving presents to our grandkids. But there is a conundrum attached to gift giving. A puzzle I am never able to completely solve.
No matter the money spent or the thought that goes into choosing presents for loved ones, I always feel as if it’s not enough. It’s impossible to translate love into material goods. We try, but it can never work. It’s just that gift giving, humanly speaking, can only ever come up short at least from the giver’s point of view. I’m always a bit let down at not being able to adequately express love that way. And perhaps there isn’t enough money in the world to do so.
Which brings me to the greatest Gift of all, Christ taking on flesh and dwelling among us. That is God’s incomparable Gift to the world. With the Incarnation in mind, that God can view my pitiable efforts to please Him (my giving gifts to Him if you will) through the lens of Grace for His Son’s Sake; that is the greater mystery. For what can a beggar offer the King of Kings?
In Christina Rossetti’s words:
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what can I give Him:
Give my heart.
And now comes the new year.
Even if you aren’t the kind to make resolutions, it hard not to see the new year as a new beginning, a starting over of sorts. And who doesn’t need a “do over” now and then?
Resolved, to take each day in 2018 as a new opportunity to love God and others in word and deed. To remember that people are more important than projects. To seek out and take the greatest pleasure in the simplest of moments. To cultivate a grateful heart. To continue learning and growing. To remember that God is always working in a multitude of ways and to trust more fully in His Sovereign Goodness.
Now these are some grand and sweeping resolutions, aren’t they? I am sure to fail. Still, His Grace is sufficient. May the LORD remind me of that in the thick of the battle when struggles, disappointments and frustrations present themselves, as they surely will, in the year ahead.
I was thinking the other day how there comes a time in everyone’s life when certain dreams and aspirations must be let go. And if the time is right to release them, the letting go offers more relief than grief. Lofty goals weigh more heavily as time passes and become burdensome. Not that we should or even can live without purpose, but rather wholeheartedly and without reservation appreciate the marvelous and miraculous gifts that come our way in ordinary life.
… there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his labor–this is God’s gift to man. Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13