Summary: A message of God’s love at Christmas.
Christmas is almost here. In exactly one week the day we’ve all been waiting for will have come. We’ve been singing and listening to carols as we have been awaiting its arrival. We’ve been making all sorts of plans for travel or parties or programs as we prepare for that day. And it’s so close we can almost touch it now. Christmas is only one week away. And I can’t wait.
But I have a feeling that there is a group of people here this morning that, at this point of the season, you are dreading Christmas day. Not just because you have to spend it with the in-laws. Not necessarily because you don’t like Christmas. But you are dreading Christmas day because you still haven’t gotten your Christmas shopping done. Are there any procrastinators in our midst?
I like Christmas. I like the tradition of giving and receiving gifts. But you know, sometimes Christmas shopping can be very difficult. There are some people in my family that are extremely hard to buy for. Even though my very organized sister has everyone write down what they would like for Christmas and then emails that full compiled list to the whole family, there are a couple people for whom I still don’t know have a clue what to get. Christmas shopping can be hard sometimes.
There was a guy that bought his wife a beautiful diamond ring for Christmas. When he told one of his friends what he got, his friend responded by saying, "I thought she wanted one of those sporty 4-Wheel drive vehicles." "She did," he replied. "But where am I gonna find a fake Jeep?"
Guys, did you realize all the rules that had to be followed when it comes to buying your wife a Christmas present? Yeah, here they are. I’m sure you’ll appreciate them. 1. Don’t buy anything that plugs in. Anything that requires electricity is seen as utilitarian. 2. Don’t buy clothing that involves sizes. The chances are one in seven thousand that you will get her size right, and your wife will be offended the other 6999 times. "Do I look like a size 16?" she’ll say. Too small a size doesn’t cut it either: "I haven’t worn a size 8 in 20 years!" 3. Avoid all things useful. The new silver polish advertised to save hundreds of hours is not going to win you any brownie points. 4. Don’t buy anything that involves weight loss or self-improvement. She’ll perceive a six-month membership to a diet center as a suggestion that’s she’s overweight. 5. Don’t buy jewelry. The jewelry your wife wants, you can’t afford. And the jewelry you can afford, she doesn’t want. 6. Finally, don’t spend too much. "How do you think we’re going to afford that?" she’ll ask. But don’t spend too little. She won’t say anything, but she’ll think, "Is that all I’m worth?"
Giving gifts at Christmas time can be difficult. It can also be very entertaining. I remember several Christmas’ ago, we spent the holidays with my mom’s parents. That’s always fun because there are tons of people there. My mom is one of five kids, and all but one of those have families of their own. Many of the grandchildren at this point also have a few kids themselves. This particular Christmas was the first one that my aunt and her new husband and his daughter had joined us. To put it kindly, my uncle is sort of an odd character. Well, to try and make this story a little shorter, my grandmother loves to do the white elephant gift exchange where there’s a pile of gifts and you go around the room and either take one from the pile or steal from someone else. Some of those gifts are very nice. That particular year I got a really pretty antique chair that’s sitting in my guest room right now. Some are very nice gifts. But, given that it’s my grandmother we’re talking about, some are just silly gifts.
Well, as we went around the room it came my new uncle’s turn to choose. And he decided to take a gift from the pile of unwrapped gifts. Not a very good idea, at least for him. Because as he opened up this nicely wrapped, big box, he pulled out of all things a chamber pot. And it wasn’t a nice, new one. It was the one that my great-grandmother had used before she died. And he was not very happy. I can still see him. “I don’t want this. This is stupid.” He really was upset about the whole thing. Well, eventually my dad was kind enough to “steal” his gift from him and give him some nice tools in return. I guess in an attempt to appease him.