But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:15-17 (NLV)
If you are a relative, no fair peeking. Your unfinished Christmas gift might be pictured here. When I was transitioning from the season of Thanksgiving to the season of giving. I had this idea. What if I could follow that bumper sticker mantra, “Buy Locally, Think Globally” as I chose presents for those on my list this year. What if I could avoid the mall and the big box stores completely? What if I could maintain my identity by not shopping on line and risking my credit card number being stolen for the fourth time in a year? What if I could save the world a little bit of fuel for trucking or cardboard for shipping? “What if” became “I think I can” as I realized how much I could make of glass or felt for the extended family we give to. For those who are just not glass or felt kinds of people, I chose to shop only at our local farmer’s market, craft shows or independently and locally owned businesses or restaurants. What seemed an impossible idea has become reality as I will finish up my handcrafting or purchasing next week without stepping foot in any store over the size of my own home. The one big item my gadget crazy marketing susceptible oldest son wanted was found at a locally owned computer store. Because I know someone who knows someone, I purchased it for the same price as the “black Friday” specials without waiting in line for days to nab one of only fifteen “loss leaders” the Big Box store advertised. For youngest son, I’m making a book of gift certificates for local restaurants, outdoor gear shops, museums and ecotourism companies. He can use them over time making Christmas last longer. Glass bowls, art panels for stands, pendants, mobiles and boxes will round out the list along with some enamel jewelry I bought from a woman in the class I took. While I might have hated enameling, she loves it and does beautiful work. My friend Vicki resuced me from my moment of despair when I didn’t have the courage to cut into a thrift store wool sweater shrunk in the washer. She’s made a special someone just the funky warm hat she will love. Vicki also taught me to make felted scarves, purses and table runners. Christmas is all about giving because Jesus came to be the Greatest Gift ever brought to earth. How can I not give my very best as well? But, now that I have given away all my secrets to whatever relatives wander in here before Christmas, if you see something you’d like to have, let me know. I’m not sure I’ll be able to grant these lovely creations to some unappreciative cousin who’d just as soon have a video game made in China. Unlike Jesus who came to earth for everyone, even those who reject Him, I have to admit to a choosy streak. Maybe, I’ll send you their share!