Monday, December 21, 2009

OnFire #210 The Search for the Perfect Gift

OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #210 The Search for the Perfect Gift

Last week I heard an interesting statistic. 40% of all Christmas gifts will be bought in the week before Christmas. The pressure is on to find the right gift for those we love at Christmas.

I always find it hard to shop for Jan because I never seem to know the right thing. Some years I have hit it right on the mark, and others were, well, a little off centre. I think my instincts are getting better. For instance, the other night Jan was folding clothes and pointed to our ancient cracked and worn baskets. "I could really use some new clothes baskets," she said.

"Are you trying to get me hurt?" I replied. "If you tell our friends that I got you clothes baskets for Christmas, I’ll never hear the end of it. And then the women at the church will hear, and I’ll get it from them, too." We both laughed because we knew it was true. "Maybe not for Christmas, then."

You may have seen the commercial on TV lately, where a couple stands in the window of their suburban home, watching the neighbours running and laughing in their yard. It is Christmas day and she is holding a food processor, while the neighbour’s wife is dancing for joy because of the new car she got for Christmas. The message is simple: buy her something she really wants. I have the feeling I’m not alone in my quest, but Jan and I have a commitment not to blow the budget at Christmas, so things like cars are definitely out.

Jan, on the other hand, has great instincts. She’ll shop all year long, seeing things on sale that she knows will really be appreciated. Tools always work for me. I love gadgets and things for the shop, such as it is. I’ve figured out the difference here between men and women. When Jan gave me a cordless drill last year, she was suggesting, "This is fun, so go along and play." If I get an appliance for Jan, like a vacuum cleaner, I’m saying, "Here is something so you can work a little harder." Like I said, I think my instincts are getting better, even if I still struggle.

We may struggle to find the perfect gift, but as we reflect on Christmas, let’s not forget that the perfect gift is not the one we give, but the one we get through Jesus Christ.

"The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23*)

Sometimes the best gifts are the ones we get before we even realize we’re going to need them, like the boots we get just before the old ones fall apart. That’s the way it was with Jesus. Long before we even knew we needed a saviour, God sent Jesus.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8).

The wise men of the Christmas account got it right. Their search for the perfect gift ended with Jesus.

We’ll continue to do our shopping and wrapping and all that goes with Christmas, but sometime this season, we need to take time and thank God for His gift to us of Jesus Christ. It’s too easy to put it off or say, "Yeah, I know," and then do nothing about it. Let’s not forget to thank the One who gave us the best gift of all.

Blessings and merry Christmas from all of us here. Be on fire.

OnFire is a weekly letter on authentic faith and character written by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published Dec 21, 2009. *Scripture taken from New International Version. To subscribe or reply, email Archives are located at Blog located at  

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