Santa Claus and presents seem to be the driving force around Christmas, in spite of plenty of manger scenes. It can be easy to get caught up in the frenzy of gift-giving and sometimes (maybe often) lose the meaning behind the celebration. Christmas, for many, is a “secular holiday”.

I love this time of year. We decorate our home, buy a Christmas tree and yes, we do buy gifts for our family. The problem comes in when we’re buying & giving because of the guilt that says, “If we don’t, we’re not enough”.

I was in a store shortly after “Black Friday”. Behind me in line, two women were talking about what to get for a man on their list. On an aisle display, they saw something they decided to buy because they “needed something to wrap”. This definitely falls in the category of gift-giving motivated by something other than generosity.
Gifts that are given freely given in love, are the ones that truly have value.

“A Christmas Carol” is the story of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge who walks through life angry and miserable, squirreling away his fortune, while Bob Cratchit—who works for Scrooge and has six children to feed (one of them being Tiny Tim)—toils away for very meager wages.

Each year, Scrooge is invited to a Christmas party by his nephew but he pushes him away. Men approach him asking for help for the poor, but he sends them away with nothing. Scrooge is so deep into his pain and anger that he can’t see anything else.
When are we so deep in our own issues that we don’t see those around us who are suffering, need help, or are reaching out to us?

As the story goes, when Scrooge goes to bed on Christmas Eve, he is visited by the spirit of Jacob Marley, his late partner. Marley reveals that he is spending eternity roaming the earth, weighed down by heavy chains, because (in his life) he was greedy, with no concern for others’ needs.
Have you ever been given a message that you chose to dismiss?

Scrooge is then visited by three ghosts. With the Ghost of Christmas Past, he revisits his youth and sees how his lust for money made him lose everything else in his life.
How often do we put value on the “things” of this world instead of the people of this world?

With the Ghost of Christmas Present, he “sees” what’s happening now. He gets a glimpse into his nephew’s life, and the party he refused to attend. He sees the Cratchit family, with their meager holiday meal, and Tiny Tim, joy-filled in spite of his disability. And, Scrooge is introduced to two ragged children named, “Ignorance” and “Want”.
How often do we turn our backs on “Ignorance” and “Want”?

Finally, Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come who reveals to him the reaction after his death—people selling his clothing for a pittance, a family relieved that the debt they owed would be canceled, no one sad that he’s gone.
What will our stories be when we leave the earth?

Ebenezer Scrooge is given the gift of truly seeing himself. He wakes up on Christmas morning realizing that it’s not too late, that he can change his life—that he can positively impact the lives of others.
And, that’s what he does.
He rights his wrongs.
He loves those who open their arms to him.
He helps the poor.
He dances with joy.
He holds the true spirit of Christmas in his heart.
What could you do differently, if you have the chance?

Winston Churchill said, “A person makes a living by what he or she gets. A person makes a life by what he or she gives.”

How generous are you? I’m not simply talking about the tip you leave for a server when you’re dining out (although that counts too). I’m talking about all kinds of generosity. We’re only fifteen days from Christmas (the most wonderful time of the year for retailers) and if you’re still looking for the perfect gift, the one that says “I love you”, the one that says “you’re important to me” how about:

the gift of time
the gift of friendship
the gift of sharing knowledge
a generous smile
the gift of your resources or talents to help those in need
the gift of positive energy
the gift of giving with no expectation of something in return
a generous heart
the gift of laughter
the gift of optimism
the gift of forgiveness
a generous spirit
the gift of understanding
the gift of acceptance
the gift of kindness

I pray this season of joy brings you gifts that fill your heart with joy, laughter, and the invincible message, “you are special, you are important, and you are always loved”.









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