Summary: CHRISTMAS, YEAR C - The Christmas Gift sent to us from God above

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Take in a big breath, now let out a big sigh. Christmas is almost on us. As adults, Christmas can be a stressful time. There’s so much to do, with so little time to do it. And yet, Christmas still holds for many of us some of our fondest childhood memories. Dr. Ralph F. Wilson recently wrote of one of his treasured Christmas memories. “Christmas morning of my fifth year I woke to find a wooden rifle under the tree, carefully carved by my dad, complete with a dowel barrel and a hole for my trigger finger. I can almost smell the fresh paint mingled with the fragrance of pine branches. And though I don’t recall playing with it, I remember the awe I felt in knowing my dad made it just for me.

We have all received wonderful gifts like that. I remember one year when I was big into dragons. As I was about to open a present from my oldest sister I blurted out, “I hope this is a shirt with a dragon on it.” Then to the amazement to all of us gathered there, as I opened the present there was a blue long sleeve shirt with a dragon embroidered on it’s back. To this day my sister still won’t believe that I had just made a lucky guess.

Not all gifts, however, are so personally intended. Last year Fed Ex cashed in on this type of giving with a commercial that showed a fruit cake being opened, repackaged, and then sent on to yet another poor soul as a gift for the holiday season. Fed Ex then closed their commercial with the warning, “don’t get stuck with the fruit cake this year”.

Then we have that delightful game played at Christmas parties. The game of giving white elephant gifts, those horrendous items no one is quite sure what to do with. A few years ago my father gave Rosemary a pair of white knee high socks, which were very nice considering we like to hike. Until that is she read on the label that they were dry clean only. Now what do you do with socks that are dry clean only? Why you give them away next year as a white elephant gift.

Then there are those gifts that takes all the joy right out of giving. Those obligatory gifts. Such as the expected office exchange, or that box of candy you keep by the door to hand the Smiths when they come to call as you know they will, each and ever a year. And don’t forget that gift for your great Aunt Florence or Uncle Bob whom you really don’t like, and never want to visit, but you still send them a token of your affection, like a crocheted doily or an gaudy tie.

Then there are those really difficult gifts. Those gifts that come with long invisible strings dangling from them; gifts so very expensive that you could never afford to reciprocate. Last year a friend gave Rosemary and me a set of exquisite crystal wine goblets, with gold banding around the rime. It was a tremendously expensive gift, and one we felt awed by. But how are we to give them a gift that demonstrates the same value? You feel like a young woman who unexpectedly is given gold and diamond jewelry from unwanted suitor.

You don’t want to hurt his feelings, but ....

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