An Un-Wrappable Gift

Gift.

In this holy/holiday season, the four-letter word “gift” seems to represent unspeakable expectation and to carry immeasurable weight.

Many of us–too many of us–have spent incalculable quantities of time, money and energy in stressing and distressing over…a gift.

Many of us–too many of us–have obsessed over finding, ordering, hiding, storing, re-locating, wrapping, delivering and paying for … a gift.

This season, I offer an alternative gift…that defies wrapping.

First, may you consider these words from the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians on the subject of another four-letter word:

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

But where there are tongues, they will be silent; where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there is knowledge, it will pass away….

Now these three remain: Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 13

Now, may you consider the Apostle Paul’s words as translated into the “language of Christmas”:

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging an elegantly adorned table,
but do not show love to my family and friends,
I am just another baker or another cook.
If I decorate my house with Nativity scenes,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family and friends,
I am just another decorator.
If I work in a soup kitchen,
sing carols from the church steps and give all that I have to charity,
but do not show love to my family and friends,
I gain nothing.
If I adorn the tree with ribbons and ornaments
and attend a myriad of Christmas programs and parties,
but do not focus on the Christ Child,
I have missed the meaning.
Love stops the baking to hug a child.
Love sets aside decorating to listen to needful ones.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn’t envy another’s home
that has coordinated Christmas china and Martha Stewart table linens.
Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way,
but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love does not give only to those who are able to give in return
but rejoices in giving to those who cannot give in return.
Love
bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never fails.
Video games will break,
pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust,
but giving the gift of love will endure.

This season, may each of you give a gift that cannot fit into a bag or a box.

This season, may each of you give an un-wrappable gift: Love. An attitude of love. Words of love. A spirit of love.

Give generously of your time. Speak kindly with your lips. Share selflessly from your heart.

Generosity. Kindness. Selflessness. These are gifts that no one will take to a Courtesy Department for return or exchange.

This season, give an un-wrappable gift.

Love.

Beside you in the journey of faith,
Rev. Barbara