The First Present of Christmas

giftinhand

 

Tucked away among the gifts on Christmas morning is a gold box. And every year, right after we read the Nativity story from Luke chapter 2,  it is the first gift we open.

There is no surprise as to what we will find inside. Nothing but slips of paper, one for each member of the family. Silently, we pass out the slips and quietly read what is written. The words are our own, written in our own handwriting, sealed a year early. Last year’s gift to Jesus.

We pause, reflect and ask ourselves if we kept our promise over the past year. Maybe it was a promise to spend more time reading His words. Perhaps we pledged to be more loving to those living with us, or to try to be a better listener. It doesn’t matter what exactly the gift was, but rather that it was a personal gift to the Lord.

Then, in the quiet of the moment, before the chaos of opening gifts begins, we offer a new gift to the Savior in the manger. We reverently write our vows on a new slip of paper and put it into the gold box. The lid is replaced and the box put back under the tree.

Next year it will again be the first gift we open.

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What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.
from In The Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti
The Adoration of the Shepherds by Giovanni Andrea De Ferrari
The Adoration of the Shepherds by Giovanni Andrea De Ferrari