They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.”          Matthew 14:17 ESV

At Christmas-time probably more of us than would like to admit practice the art of re-gifting. We feel mildly guilty because the practice is usually associated with someone who is either a cheap-skate or an ingrate. However, in the Bible Jesus often practiced re-gifting. When we look at the story of Jesus multiplying the bread we see that He took the five loaves from the disciples, who in turn got them from a small boy and then gave them to five thousand hungry people.

Imported from phone 796

In our lives we are all “gifted” with time, talent and treasure. None of these things belong to us; they only pass through our hands. God is watching to see how we will re-gift what we have received. Will we feed the hungry; and bring comfort, shelter and friendship to those in need around us? What will we re-gift to someone today? And when we do remember the great re-gifting when Jesus took the life that the Father had given Him and gave it to us on the cross.

Christmas Cross

Prayer: Father, help me not to cling so tightly to the things you have given me. Give me the heart of Jesus Christ who loved me and gave himself for me!

Christmas long ago

Family Christmas 2011 005 The year was 1974 and we had been married just a little over a year. We had a small baby and a tiny 3rd floor apartment. Yes I had a job but we had not a dollar to spare. There was no Christmas tree, there were no presents. We had no special meal prepared and no plans. As I finished my work on Christmas eve after my normal work-day I received my pay envelope and to my surprise along with my check there a $50 bill inside as a bonus. In those days that was nearly equal to a week’s pay! I could hardly believe my eyes as I looked up and thanked my boss! I couldn’t wait to get home to show my wife!

After a quick meal we packed our little boy into the back of the car and headed out to the downtown to see what might still be open to buy some things for Christmas. In an open lot we found one of the last trees left from the season. It was tiny and scrawny but at five dollars we happily handed the man our money and tied it on top of the car. Then we headed to Woolworth’s and found single bulbs from boxes that had been opened for just 10 cents apiece. I have no idea what gifts we purchased, but when we returned home after the last store locked its doors we had real fun in celebrating. It wasn’t at all about comparing our lights to the neighbors or about large expensive gifts. We were entirely content in the knowledge that God had been watching and given us a special Christmas blessing. It was a moment I will savor forever and look back on as our most Merry Christmas of all.

Things may seem out of control, bleak and hard, yet in the smallest things God comes to remind us again each Christmas that Jesus came to be with us. He didn’t come to Bethlehem to be coddled and spoiled but to live out a simple life of grace and to give His life for ours. Merry Christmas to all. God bless and keep you all through the year ahead!

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23