The Greatest Gift

The words in the email stung.  As I blinked back tears my defenses went up.  “But, I did this for you…I was thinking about you.” I kept repeating to myself.  What had started out to be a fun, playful and thoughtful event had just turned quite ugly in a matter of seconds.  It came out of left field and I wasn’t prepared for it.  Nor did I really know how to respond.  So I waited.  

I had planned and prepared for this Christmas season.  The month of November came and I spent the month serving others.  This inspired me to get all my busy work done early i.e Christmas shopping, running around – you know, the hectic stuff of the season.  Get all this done and then in December spend my time focusing on Jesus.  Living and breathing and being in the presence of God.  Sounds great right?

Until I received that nasty email.

I lost my focus on Jesus. I was focused on me.  I was trying to be helpful.  I was trying to be nice.  I was trying to be thoughtful.   Did you notice the “I’s” in there.  Yep, I lost my focus all right.  This put me in a very foul mood for a few days.  It was during this time I was suppose to be putting up my tree and decorating my house.  My birthday is in December so it’s a family tradition, we decorate around my birthday.  We’ve done this since I was a little girl.  But this year…..was different.

I put our tree out, put a skirt around it and then left it.  No decorations, No lights.  I was unmotivated and uninspired.  Image

The days turned into a couple of weeks and even though I was choosing to focus on Jesus and being in the presence of God, the tree stood bare.  

Really, Lisa, I kept admonishing myself, you should get some decorations on that tree!  But I couldn’t do it.  It wasn’t that I was still upset or even uninspired.  Other decorations found their way out of boxes and into the house, but the tree still stood bare.  Every time I thought about getting something out, I reminded myself that it wasn’t about the decorations, it was about Jesus. It was about being in the presence of God.  

I began looking at the empty tree and it reminded me of the empty tomb. 

It does sound strange to think of an empty tomb when everyone else is celebrating a baby being born.  But I was.  

That little baby, in a manger, represented the gift I would receive as a young teenager.  That same gift that gives me hope to this day.  So much hope.  That precious gift, given so long ago shows me I’m loved, unconditionally.  It whispers that I can’t do anything to earn His love, it’s already there.   This precious gift glistens and glimmers like lights on a tree reminding me there is beauty in brokenness.

My tree will probably not have fancy ornaments this year.  But it will have a cross on it.  This cross will remind me of Him.  It will remind me of the sacrifice a little baby came into this world to do – for me.  And for you.