Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.  Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. [Matthew 6:19-21 (NLT)]

For it is in giving that we receive. [St. Francis of Assisi]

ornamentLast year, when my son was trying to help his children compose their Christmas lists, he told his daughter she could ask for anything. A bit overwhelmed, Molly inquired, “Anything?” Her father again said, “Anything!” The little darling then asked for a sleeping bag for her little brother. She explained that if he had one like hers, they both could be cozy and comfortable while lying on the floor and watching their half hour of TV at night. Just four, I think she had the right idea—giving truly is better than receiving.

Now that Molly is a worldly five-year-old and in kindergarten, I wonder if her Christmas list will reflect the same naive generosity. Perhaps this year’s requests will be more like those another grand made several years ago. Her list was so long that it would have been easier if she’d just sent the American Girl catalog with the few things she didn’t want crossed out. Overwhelmed by the plethora of doll accessories available, she wanted everything. Fortunately, as she’s matured, she’s become more discerning and sensible in her requests.

Two extremes—wanting nothing for oneself or everything. How do we find balance? Although Christmas is about just one gift—the Christ child—the traditions surrounding this holy day tend to be ingrained in those colorful bags and gaily wrapped packages sitting beneath our Christmas trees. How do we keep things in perspective, not just during this season of giving and getting, but all year long? Perhaps we need to think more about filling our homes and the homes of others with love, peace, joyful hearts and happy smiles rather than boxes, wrapping paper and ribbons.

Father, as we prepare to celebrate the Savior’s birth, help us to share your love and blessings, to hold your Word in our hearts, and to properly set our priorities by keeping Christ as the focus of our Christmas.

The giving of gifts is not something man invented. God started the giving spree when he gave a gift beyond words, the unspeakable gift of His Son. [Robert Flatt]

You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” [Acts 20:35b (NLT)]

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