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]

It’s less than a month until Christmas and I’m awaiting the family’s Christmas wish lists. Six years ago, when my son was helping his daughter compose her Christmas list, he told Mali she could ask for anything. A bit overwhelmed by such free rein, she questioned, “Anything?” While warning Mali that she may not get everything, he reassured her that she could ask for anything. To his surprise, the sweetheart asked for a sleeping bag for her little brother and explained that if he had one like hers, they both would be snug and cozy while watching their half hour of TV at night. Just four at the time, she had the right idea—giving truly is better than receiving.

Now that Mali is a worldly ten-year-old in fifth grade, I doubt that her Christmas list will reflect the same naïve generosity. Since she now has an American Girl doll, I suspect this year’s list will be more like the one her cousin made when she was the same age. That 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, joy, 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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