I hate shopping. Do you? It’s not that I’m a total Scrooge. I enjoy being able to gift people…if I know what they need or want, but I’ve never been endowed with the gift of giving. Inspirational visions from the Ghost of Christmas Presents for what might delight someone rarely brighten my brain, and successfully dreaming up great gifts in my concrete cranium seems as impossible as attempting to imagineer great plots for fiction stories…a non event waking or sleeping. 🙂 I believe it was my daughter-in-law Carlie who recently published on Face Book: “Am I my brother’s shopper?” (Uh…I think her husband is my son.)Nevertheless, ‘tis the season, and in our family the tradition is for each wannabe gift receiver (that’s all of us) to publish a list of wanted gift possibilities via our handy-dandy online Armstrong exchange accessed by a Christmasy password. Some kind-hearted kids even publish links to show the rest of us where to find said suggestions, so there’s always a light dusting of Amazon packages along with the light dustings of snow on our doorstep, as my son Aaron would say. And, as the days before Christmas draw nigh, there tend to be blizzards of both packages and snow. However, I’m a firm believer in buying locally if at all possible, and so I trudge through the drifting snow and freezing weather to every mall in America (or at least GR) looking for facsimiles thereof to delight my kids and soothe my civic conscience. To little avail! Ever try finding some heavy-weight bookends these days? How about a Celebration Hymnal accompaniment book or a brown desk chair with an adjustment to raise the seat up to 25 inches? And that was just the tip of the iceberg! Kindly merchants sent me from store to store and mall to mall, suggesting other shops where I might find my particular treasures. Grand Rapids is the second largest city in Michigan, and my theory was that somewhere in GR I could find the desired items. Wrong!How is it that in the shopping center for a quarter of a million people, there are so few choices available? Sadly, I think it’s a vicious cycle: More and more of us find it easier to shop online, so even the best local stores can’t afford to stock anything besides the most commonly wanted items. By the way, are you also looking for the perfect gifts for those you love? What about a gift for Jesus? It is His birthday, after all! Have you thought about what He might want from you for a present under your Christmas tree?Jesus isn’t looking for something you can find in a store or online, He just wants you. He wants you to believe in Him, love Him, trust Him, give yourself to him, and wait patiently on Him. Can you believe that?? After all, is there anything you’d rather have from your loved one?“…how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37).
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31).
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (John 15:4).