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The Best Christmas Gift

Posted 12/7/2018

The countdown has begun, that Christmas--deemed as "the most wonderful time of the year"--is just weeks away.  Shopping malls are well-decorated, and stores are selling seasonal items and gift packages.  Even the weather has been cooler and more winter-like this week with a chance of wet snow.  


Best of all, Christmas carols are ringing everywhere: in malls, shops, people's cars, or even their homes, as they play the tunes either on the radio or on YouTube.  Sometimes, I'd hear passer-by kids singing Christmas tunes while joyfully bouncing beside their parents, who are probably frantically settling on the perfect gift for the kids.


Yes, the season of giving is upon us, and as agonizing as it can be to decide on the best gifts for our loved ones, we'd never fail to deliver.    

Yes, Christmas time is when we tend to show our gratitude and appreciation to those around us for their deeds done on us throughout the year.  Our gift ideas are usually materialistic, but practical gifts that fit people's needs can go a long way.  for one thing, it shows that you are observant about the person you're presenting the gift to, knowing what that person lacks or needs that he or she has yet to fill.  At a deeper level, it shows that you care about the person, rather than to give him or her a box of chocolate or other common "go-to" gifts.


Blessings From My Christmas Shopping Trip


This year, I was blessed to go on a Christmas shopping trip to Bellingham with my close friend, so we would get it done early to alleviate the stress, the rush, and the busy crowds in the malls.  Typically, I tend to leave the gift shopping until two weeks before Christmas, and then I'd done most of the shopping in two days.  However, now I can focus on the remaining gifts and writing Christmas cards with ample of time to spare.  


I prayed to God before the trip for His protection and familiarity of the surroundings since my friend and I went there once earlier this year.  I continued to talk to Him throughout the trip about gift ideas and detailed itinerary, so no time was wasted.  The trip was fruitful. Aside from the gifts, which were mostly practical or enjoyable, my friend and I learned how to reach landmarks more conveniently and knew where to enjoy better food.  The biggest lesson would be to take the train instead of Greyhound bus after experiencing an overly lengthy delay and  a frustrating ride on our return as the self-proclaimed new driver got us lost and needed a passenger's guidance to bring us home.  


I thanked God after I gt off the bus and deleted the videos soon afterwards.  I was tired and hungry, but I was unharmed and had all my possessions.  The custom checks were smooth, and the trip was a success.  I even briefly testified God to a couple while waiting for the bus when they asked me about my eyesight.  Being alive and be able to testify Him despite my disability is the best gift one could receive from God.


The Best Gift From Us


As Christians, the best gift that we can offer isn't of material or monetarily based.  In the bus trip instance, I chose forgiveness and understanding over anguish or overreaction.  If only I have enough courage to go one step further while waiting, so I could preach the gospel to the couple!  Like some of you, I am often hesitant and passive in testifying God or preaching the gospel, as we dislike negative reactions or possible confrontations, especially with our loved ones.  The last thing we want is broken friendships or family feuds.  However, losing them eternally would be our greatest regret, and we love them too much to have that.


We are saved because those who preached to us bravely testified God, not knowing how we'd take it, or if we'd even turn away or persecute them.  In tern, we should be courageous in spreading God's gift of love and salvation to as many as possible by telling them about God's grace in us.  Life is so precious and fragile.  One bad choice and one's gone, like a friend of mine who suddenly passed away in October (See blog post: Sudden Death).   I can't thank Him enough for saving me so I can inspire and save others either through my testimonies, my books, or blog posts.  


I don't forbid Christmas shopping or avoid singing Christmas songs that doesn't directly reference Jesus or Christianity (as long as they are not overly secular).  Christmas is to commemorate Jesus' birth and to celebrate with family and friends over gifts, meals, and fun, but the message should be clear, that people need to know about Jesus' love in any way possible, and we ought express our gratitude and appreciation to Him who always is, and who has saved us eternally so we can enjoy life and eternity with Him.



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© 2017 by John Leung.  All Rights Reserved.