Life Notes: Let’s Remember the Reason for the Season
by Missy Goodwin

Silver Bells, candy canes, mistletoe, and Christmas trees. It’s certainly beginning to look a lot like Christmas, isn’t it? Every store window is decorated, and strains of Christmas Carols greet patrons as they enter. Like everyone else, I’ve been making my list and checking it twice. And like most parents I know, agonizing over what to buy each child and, more importantly, making sure the quantity and quality is fair to each. While mulling this over the other day, I was reminded of something my niece told her mother years ago.

My sister, who has four children, was discussing with her husband the fact that one of her children had fewer things on his list than the other three. However, my brother-in-law pointed out, Adam’s things cost more, so that should have some bearing on the decision making. Unaware of my little nieces’ presence, a discussion ensued on possibly setting a budget for each child and basing the number of gifts on a dollar amount rather than the quantity of the gifts. Right in the middle of this puzzling dilemma, Bethany sweetly spoke up. “Mommy? Don’t you remember? Jesus only got three gifts and he didn’t even make a list.” Children have the most amazing ability to snap us back into reality and make us accountable, don’t they? Little Bethany was only reminding her parents of something she had learned, ironically, from them. The Reason for the Season. Jesus Christ.

Try as I may, I’m just as guilty as most; I make the lists, add to the hustle and bustle of shopping, and then moan, groan, and grumble over how much money we’ve spent and how commercial everything has gotten. Thus perpetuating the cycle. So should we just stop giving gifts? Or only give gold (that works!), frankincense (what is that anyway?), and myrrh (ditto…)? I don’t think either of those things is the answer. The problem isn’t necessarily the gifts but the importance we place on them. Do you gauge your Christmas as “good” or “bad” based on whether or not you got what you wanted or liked what you got?

Well, here’s my challenge to all of us – me included. A new gift checklist with which to “rate” our Christmases:

Healthy loved ones.
Another year with our elderly parent(s).
A free country.
A home.
Plenty of food.

And while Jesus may have received only three gifts, please be reminded that His Father chose to give US the ONE most important gift of all: The miracle birth of our Savior.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son …” John 3:16.

Thanks for the reminder, Beth.

The Life Notes articles are written by staff of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home and are published in The Ruston Daily Leader.

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