December 6, 2020

We are in one of my favorite seasons – Advent, which is the time we celebrate leading up to Christmas. Most churches observe Advent by having special sermons, lighting a candle on the Advent circle of candles, special songs, etc.

When I was but a youth I looked forward to Christmas, period. I did not even know the word Advent or what it meant. I just wanted my gifts.  Does that sound like you as a pre-teen? Think about that, dear reader.

Actually, I guess we all enjoy gifts at any age and for any occasion. But when we get old enough to know the true meaning of Christmas, our attitude about gifts given to us changes a lot. We look forward to receiving gifts beyond what we get from Santa Claus.

Indeed, when we get older, we celebrate our greatest gift, from God Himself, giving to the whole world the gift of Jesus, who would become the Savior of whosoever would call upon His name seeking salvation.  That’s too awesome to be understood with our feeble human intellect.

Let me write briefly about the title of this post. I’ve known the entire quote about God’s gift to us since my early teenage years.  I don’t know where I first heard it but since then I have heard it many many times and still agree with it 100%.

The entire quote is God’s Gift…What we are is God’s gift to us; what we become is our gift to God.  Another sobering thought. What are we doing to become a gift to God?

I always loved that quote.  I don’t know the answer to this yet, but did my son, John Paul, know how much I loved the quote? Had I ever repeated this quote to him personally, or perhaps in a sermon he heard me preach?  I need to ask him that question someday. The reason I tell that question to you is that John Paul brought Sandra and me a gift soon after he had enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and was home on leave in the early 1990s. The gift he gave us was a little book that had been bronzed and one page had written on it the preceding quote.  Needless for me to have to say ,we still have that beautiful book on display in our living room. Another nicety about the book and quote is that John Paul gave us the book for no particular occasion.

Speaking of bronzed, that quote should be bronzed within our hearts so deeply that every day of our lives we try to give of ourselves to God, as our gift to Him.

How can we do that? I recently posted about our gifts and graces from God. Use whatever you can of yourself to help your fellow human being.  Simply, can you give a glass of water to some poor person?  Jesus said that was just like giving a glass of water to Him.  You can further extrapolate that thought to many aspects of your life.

I met a lady many years ago who had a rather odd custom in her family. She was a Seventh Day Adventist and I think I remember her saying that the custom was taught in her church. The custom was that none of her family would receive any Christmas gifts for themselves. They would take any gift that they did receive to some needy family or a homeless shelter. I wish I could remember her name but I don’t. However, the custom she shared with me that day has never escaped my memory.

I, too, love receiving gifts as I mentioned earlier about all people love receiving gifts.  But do we have to wait for some special occasion to give a gift to someone in need? Our gift to others can even be simpler than the cup of water I mentioned above. What about a smile and a “how are you”  to a stranger you may never see again?  Yes, the opportunities of giving of ourselves to God are endless.

I’ve heard many people advocate that every day should be Christmas. Some advocate every day should be Thanksgiving. I agree with both thoughts.

Sandra met an elderly lady recently (in her 80s) who had just experienced a terrible set of circumstances in her life. Her husband divorced her and somehow got all their money, townhouse, etc. Sandra went to her apartment where the lady told her all about her dilemma. Sandra was so sympathetic and even prayed with the lady and invited her to our church. Sandra said the lady was so happy about the visit and prayer. And, of course, the encouragement Sandra gave to her.  How much did that hour cost Sandra?  Nothing but the time. And the lady told Sandra she would call her sometimes. That encounter probably helped change that lady’s life. Sandra’s gift to God.

The Bible says that we may encounter angels unawares.   Maybe we are sometimes tested to check out our faith, or lack of.  Just a thought.

During this season especially, give God a gift of yourself.

God Bless You,
Spencer Plumley