So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:4-7 (NIV)
Last week, two separate conversations with friends revolved around what kind of jewelry they wanted from their husband for Christmas. One believed that pearls would be the best gift. To her, pearls symbolize a long term commitment and if her husband gave them to her, it would show how much he loved her. The other wanted a pair of diamond earrings. She thought that after making it through this year (she is almost finished with graduate school), diamond earrings would be a great reward. I just nodded in agreement with both of them, but inside, I thought that they both would probably be disappointed. In my long marriage to my husband, he often surprises me with great gifts, but they are usually not at all what I expect or hope for. One year, I was convinced he was buying me a horse. He teased and joked about it for weeks, then, presented me with a toy horse. I was so disappointed. In fact, I cannot even remember what he really gave me that year. Last year, I wanted a laptop computer. Instead, he brought me a beautiful pair of gold and diamond horseshoe earrings. They are lovely, and I wear them a lot, but I had to pay for my own laptop a few months later. This year, I wanted a horse cart, but I got an IPOD. Now, I know I will enjoy the IPOD, but I really thought he was building me a horse cart. He also gave me a Black and Decker Power Scrubber. Some women would be insulted to get a house cleaning aid for a gift, but I am all for anything to make my work easier. This little gadget scrubs pots and pans and is submersible. It got the gook out of my mother-in-law’s roasting pan quickly and easily. I wouldn’t have asked for it, but I will use it. As I will the hose reel for keeping my garden hose straight, and the stethoscope for measuring my horse’s respiration and gut sounds. My husband hopes it will save us lots of money in vet bills. It makes me laugh when I think of the odd assortment of gifts he picked out this year, but each was chosen with care and will be something that will make my life more enjoyable and carefree. What a treat not to have to wrestle with the hose any more. Yet, many women I know are sighing tonight because they did not get their diamond earrings or pearl necklaces. If only they remembered the real meaning of Christmas. The gift that was given when God took human form. Imagine. The same air that Jesus breathed 2,000 years ago circulates in our world today. I might have just inhaled some of it. He walked this earth to show me how to live, then died for my sins. What a gift! For some people Christmas is all about the presents, but for me, it is about THE PRESENCE. Merry Christmas!