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What do you want for Christmas?

Monday, December 24, 2007 (8:37 am)

Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

This is a sweet story we came across.

When our son Pete was six, it was a Depression year and the bare essentials were all we could afford. We felt we were richer than most people, though, in things of the mind and imagination and spirit. That was a comfort of sorts to us, but nothing a six-year-old could understand.

With Christmas a week off, we told Pete that there could not be any store-bought presents this year–for any of us. "But I'll tell you what we can do," said his father with an inspiration born of heartbreak. "We can make pictures of the presents we'd like to give each other."

For the next few days each of us worked secretly, with smirks and giggles. Somehow we did scrape together enough to buy a small tree. But we had pitifully few decorations to trim it with. Yet, on Christmas morning, never was a tree heaped with such riches! The gifts were only pictures of gifts, to be sure, cut out or drawn and colored and painted, nailed and hammered and pasted and sewed. But they were presents, luxurious beyond our dreams: A slinky black limousine and a red motor boat for Daddy. A diamond bracelet and a fur coat for me. Pete's presents were the most expensive toys cut from advertisements. Our best present to him was a picture of a fabulous camping tent, complete with Indian designs, painted, of course, by Daddy, and magnificent pictures of a swimming pool, with funny remarks by me. Daddy's best present to me was a watercolor he had painted of our dream house, white with green shutters and forsythia bushes on the lawn.

Naturally we didn't expect any "best present" from Pete. But with squeals of delight, he gave us a crayon drawing of flashy colors and the most modernistic technique. But it was unmistakably the picture of three people laughing–a man, a woman, and a little boy. They had their arms around one another and were, in a sense, one person. Under the picture he had printed just one word: US. For many years we have looked back at that day as the richest, most satisfying Christmas we have ever had. — Margery Tallcott

The most precious things in life cannot be bought with money. Let's focus on the wonderful gifts we've been given this season — family, friends and most of all, God's grace toward us in sending His Son Jesus to die in our place. Merry, merry Christmas.

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