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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



It’s Christmas time once again, and I’ll be the very first one to say that even in past years when I’ve had real issues getting into the spirit of Christmas I usually could find a way to snap into it at the very last minute. This year not so much as it just seems to me not to have found its way into my heart. It isn’t as though I don’t like the holidays, I really do and in fact playing Santa and getting wrapped up in the lights and tinsel and the spirit seem to get me through the dark days of winter every year.

I don’t know what it is exactly this year that has caused even a lack of grinchness towards the holiday, I’m not opposed to celebrating it at all, it just is that I don’t even have the gumption to get the slightest bit excited about it. In order to try to make the attempt at Christmas cheer I started shopping because I have always believed that the true meaning of the holiday is about giving. I’ve always thought of myself as a thoughtful giver, one that takes great time and pains to make sure I find a gift that has special meaning towards the recipient. During my shopping trip, I suddenly got to day dreaming and thinking about the giving of gifts and as I sat down in a corner of the mall with my small cup of coffee watching the other shoppers I thought back to gifts given to us long ago.

I’m not talking about the five buckle overshoes we got when we were kids, or even the year that I got a John Deere tractor under the tree, nor about the oranges or apples that always were a part of our Christmas stockings. No, what I was thinking about was the gift that came to you and I the day the Christ child was born in the stable so many years ago. So many people spend their entire lives being mad at the world or other people with no real thoughts about the gifts that they have been given. Mad at God? Been there a number of times and I know a few who are mad at Him even as I write this column. They feel as though he has left them out in the cold and without hope. But if anything they truly couldn’t be further from the truth.

On that morning that Christ was born that was God’s first gift to us. A child, who came into this world to take the sins of man and in the end give us the gift of forgiveness. This is called God’s grace, the gift to us to take that sin away from us even long before we are born. It is the most precious of all of the gifts we have been given.

But what of the other gifts that God has bestowed on you? Gifts from God? You’re probably scratching your head right now trying to figure out what else He has given to you. They are the gifts that I call our own uniqueness. Maybe you’re good with your hands, fixing things. Perhaps you can take a piece of wood and look at it and in your mind turn it into a beautiful piece of furniture? Maybe you’ve got a voice like an angel, or a way with the written word? Perhaps you can draw or paint or have this uncanny ability to show compassion towards others? What is that unique gift or talent that you have? The gift that God has bestowed upon you?

As we gear up towards our giving time, I want to ask each one of you how you are using the gift that you have been given? Are you giving that gift away to others? Are you using that gift to your full potential? Do you suppose that God thought long and hard about the gift He gave to you? What do you suppose he would be wishing you would do with it? Leave it covered up and hidden or to share that gift with others? Just a little something to think about as you are giving and receiving your gifts this week.

See you next week…remember, we’re all in this together.