Gifts of Christmas past
As I put away my Christmas decorations, I spent some time reflecting on them. Many were gifts I have received over the years, and I found comfort as I reflected over the gifts and the givers.
First, there is the Christmas bear that my grandmother gave me when she was preparing to move from her house. She had started collecting bears after my grandfather gave her one for Christmas the year before he died. As she began to downsize for her move, she gave these bears to all of her grandchildren one Christmas. As I packed the bear away, I thought of my grandmother and grandfather and all of the Christmas memories I cherish from my childhood.
As I carefully packed the ornaments (that manage to multiply every year), I smiled at the ones made by my children’s loving hands. Some have their handprints, while others hold their adorable faces. These precious pieces of their childhoods remind me of the gift my children are to me. I am also reminded of the precious memories our family makes each year as we celebrate Christmas.
Then there is the tree skirt -- a gift my husband, Terry, and I received at our wedding from several of his cousins. It is handmade and beautiful. Each year I think of each of his cousins as I place the skirt under the Christmas tree. And once again, I think of the many Christmases I was privileged to share with Terry’s grandparents and extended family.
I have two wooden nativity sets made by two of my children while they were in preschool. Each was painted with the guidance of their teachers: Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus recreating the first Christmas night. I also packed away two Christmas trees made by my other two children in preschool. Each painted and decorated by their loving hands.
And finally, I packed away the stocking that my son Jerrod received from the hospital the day he was born. I tell everyone that he was my best Christmas present ever! He was born four days before Christmas, the morning after Terry’s grandfather died. He was a wonderful gift to the Bauder family that year. I remember holding Jerrod that Christmas thinking about Mary and what she had to be feeling the night Jesus was born.
Jesus truly is the best Christmas present I ever received. Many people don’t recognize the gift Jesus is to each of us. He came as a baby so that He could experience everything that we experience – including heartaches, joy, temptations, trials, victories and friendships.
Matthew 1:21 says, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” Did you catch the last part of that verse? He will save His people from their sins. Now that has to be the best Christmas present ever!
Dear Heavenly Father: Thank You for the gift of Jesus. Thank You for seeing our need and meeting it in a special and unique way. I am thankful that I can celebrate Christmas with my family and share and create wonderful memories with them. You are the giver of so many perfect gifts in my life. Thank You for saving me from my sins and setting it all into motion that very first Christmas day. In the name of Your precious Son, amen.