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Friday, December 23, 2016

Gifts for Life

By Kelly Bridgewater
When I think of Christmas memories, they have changed recently. As a mother, Christmas has taken on a different meaning for me.

After a month plus of shopping, baking, decorating, and cleaning, Christmas morning has finally arrived. The alarm did not wake up the parents, instead the thundering beat of footsteps as they hurry down the stairs did. Then the silent and dark early morning hours rip open with squeals of delight. Lying in bed, I rolled over and nudged my husband.

“The kids are awake. It’s time to join them.” 

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My husband grunts, pulling up the blanket over his head. The red numbers of 3:55 shined like a siren across the bed. It was really too early, but I knew that if we did not join the children, we would miss the most important morning of the year. Excitement coursed through my veins. I had been waiting for Christmas to arrive too but for different reasons than my boys.

After wrapping my robe around myself, I stomped downstairs where the children had already dumped their Christmas supplies of candy, toothbrush, and toothpaste from their individually hand cross-stitched stockings, which I made when I carried each boy, preparing for their arrival. The floor littered with evidence of Hershey Kisses and Reese’s Cups, as the boys leaned over, comparing their stashes with each other.

I turned on the coffee pot and poured two mugs after the pot brimmed with ebony liquid. I crept into the living room, turned on the Christmas lights, and double-checked the camera battery, blinking green across the room, which would capture the shredding of the wrapped and decorated presents spilling out from the under the tree.

This was it! This was what the children were waiting for all December. Wanting to know what they received for Christmas.

One by one, the boys broke into their packages, wrapping paper flying through the air as each child is overcome with delight at the equally thought out presents are revealed.

The oldest boy enjoys building from Legos and Kinex’s, so I picked out Lego Ninjago kits and Kinex treasure chests teeming with straight and curved pieces to advance his building creativity.

The middle boy benefits from anything musical, so we purchased him a drum set because he’s been hinting at wanting to learn a musical instrument, which happened to be a drum. There goes the quiet in the house.

The youngest boy steals my smartphone whenever he can and beats Angry Birds all the time. Being fascinated with the latest electronics, we purchased a Nabi tablet to advance his learning skills while playing games to advance his reading and math skills. 


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As the next couple of days go by, I spied on the oldest, as he built a lawn mower that actually moved with a flick of a lever. The middle child banged away at the drums, drowning out the quiet in the house. The youngest sits for hours, playing with his tablet, learning with laughter ringing through the air. “I won, Mom.” He says, as he rushes over to show me his latest high score.

My heart jumps with excitement as I observe my children using their gifts for the intended purpose, improving their creative and learning abilities.

This year as I examined my children, it gave me a thought about our spirititual gifts. Our pastor, Ric May, just completed a three-week lesson on “The Calling.” He posed the question to our congregation, “are we doing what God has called us to do or are we allowing our gift to collect dust?’

Does God feel like me when I spend a whole month scrutinizing my boys for the perfect gift to bring out the most joy and their natural God-given talents? He has endowed every person with a gift to bring him glory, but how many of us walk around and ignore the gift that God wants us to use?

How would I feel as a mother if I spent the whole month of December hunting for the perfect present and the boys open the wrapped gift only to toss it in the closet, knowing it's there, but not actually doing anything with it? Maybe the boys do not want to break it. Maybe they do not want to be made fun of it if they bring the gift out into the opening for others to notice.

When God created each of us, he bestowed a gift on everyone to bring Him glory. Whether it is writing, teaching, serving, worshiping, helping, giving, or whatever God has given to you.

Even Paul knew how important the gift of God was to the church. He wrote in 1 Timothy 4:14, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you” and in 2 Timothy 1:6, he repeats, “Therefore, I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you.” The urging from God provides us a deep satisfaction and longing as long as we use it to further God’s kingdom and do not hide the gift in the closet.

I imagine, like me, God smiles when we use His gift that He knew would be perfect for us and has planned to further His kingdom.



This post first appeared on "Thinking Thoughts" at eahendryx.blogspot.com on December 22, 2013 where I was a guest on Emilie Hendryx's blog. But I liked the message, so I borrowed my words again for this Christmas season.

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