My Favorite Christmas Present

Until my son was born, I never realized how much more fun Christmas is when you get to see the surprise on your child’s face. It was always exciting as a child imagining what new toys were under the Christmas tree; however, that excitement doesn’t compare to the joy of seeing Christmas through your child’s eyes.

Each year I have a list of things I would like for Christmas, but I am not really that excited about my gifts. I am thankful for those who cared enough to get me something. Never-the-less, I am always eager for Christmas morning and to see William’s excitement and joy.

This year, I was surprised at one gift I received.  It was by far my favorite gift and memory of Christmas 2011. My wife and son gave me a Hallmark Storybook.  It is entitled, “The Very First Christmas.” What makes it so special is that you can record your voice reading the story. As you turn each page, music plays followed by the recording of the person reading the book. My book was recorded by my seven-year-old, and I LOVE IT!  I have the book sitting on my desk at work so I can listen to it whenever I want.  I am not too sure how long the batteries will last, but as long as they do I will have a recording of my son reading to me about the very first Christmas.

Usually, my favorite part of Christmas is watching others enjoy the gifts that I have given; however, this year my wife and son gave me a priceless gift for which I am truly thankful.

What was your favorite Christmas present or memory?

All I Want for Christmas is Jesus

My Christmas list this year is quite simple—I want to Obey Like Joseph, Trust Like Mary, Seek Like the Shepherds, and Worship Like the Wise Men. When I looked through the Sears Christmas catalog as a little boy, I always knew I would get a few of the toys I put on my list. I also knew that I would get stuff that would never go on my list, you know—socks, jeans, shirts, and things that your parents put on the list. However, when it comes to making out a Christmas list from the Word of God, one thing is guaranteed; you will always get what you ask for. When we are living within God’s will and ask for anything in Jesus’ name, God will give us that gift. I’m not talking about cars, homes, or other worldly possessions. I am talking about the same godly attributes that Jesus demonstrated for us during His life here on earth.

So, what is it that you want this year? What is it that your heart desires? Is it salvation? Romans 10:13 says, “Whosoever will call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Just call out to Jesus and He will save you. Are you in need of forgiveness? 1 John 1:9 tells us “if we confess our sins, He [Jesus] is faithful and just to forgive us of all our sins.” Are you looking for peace? John 6:33 promises us that peace is found in Jesus. Are you looking for joy? Jesus taught His disciples that His joy would be our joy and that it would be made complete. It is only in Jesus that you will ever find true peace and joy. Maybe you are looking for rest. Jesus told us in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…for your souls.”

Whatever you may be searching for, it can only be found in Jesus. Is it happiness, satisfaction, love, a spouse, a child, a loved on to come to Christ? No matter what it is, just ask Jesus. Matthew 7:7-8 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

So tell me, what is it you want from God? Will you ask Him today? Regardless of what you need, God is more than capable of providing. He sent Jesus to provide a way to Himself. Now, He is waiting to pour out His immeasurable blessings on those who will humble themselves and come to Him. Won’t you come today? Bottom line, all I really want for Christmas is for you to know Jesus!

All I Want for Christmas…

There are numerous events that have happened over the past fifty-six years, some I can remember better than others.  However, there are certain memories from my childhood that are as clear in my mind today as they were fifty years ago.  Those special times never seem to fade like so many other memories.  They are always present, fresh, and crisp in my mind.

One set of memories that I have is an accumulation of several of the same memory.  That is to say, every year just before Christmas my parents would place a book in my lap and let me read through any section I wanted.  It didn’t matter whether I was six, eight, ten, or twelve years old I always longed for the Christmas season just so I could look through the “BOOK!”  At this point I should probably explain what book I am talking about.  I would love to say that at the age of six and up I longed for the opportunity to flip through the pages of the Bible at Christmas time and read the nativity story; however, that would be a bit of a fabrication—okay, it would be a blatant lie.

In the early years of my life, there was only one book that could take me away from racing Hot Wheels, riding my bike, climbing trees, playing baseball, or watching countless hours of “Gilligan’s Island,” “Hogan’s Heroes,” and “Gomer Pyle.”  Only one book could bring to a halt a hyperactive child that only knew two aspects of life—sleep and play!  What book had such a powerful effect over me? Quite simply the “Sears Christmas Catalog.”  You can laugh, but it is true.  Each year my  parents would give me a sheet of paper and “The Book,” then I would write down everything I wanted for Christmas.

What a wonderful time of the year!  I was able to look through over 200 pages of toys and write down ANYTHING I wanted.  The excitement was almost too much for a child to endure.  My mind would race as I would imagine playing with each toy that I added to my ever-growing list.  The anticipation of Christmas morning was excruciating as I continued to examine my list of 50, 60, and sometimes over 70 different toys. What made the wait even worse was the knowledge that within a matter days a few of these could be all mine! The memory of these years are very special to me.  That was a special time of the year when I could ask for whatever I wanted and know that I would be given some of the toys on the list.

With Christmas racing upon me so quickly, I been thinking about the “Book.” These memories lead me to begin a mental checklist of things I would like to get this year for Christmas—tinted windows, a book, a new pair of shoes, or any number of items that I think I need.  The problem is there is no longer a book to look through nor a list to be made.  The nervous sleepless nights just before Christmas are no longer an annual event.  I guess it is all part of “growing up.”

I suspect all this sounds a bit depressing, and to be perfectly honest there have been times throughout the years I let the loneliness of the season bring me down.  But this year I decided it would be different.  This year I determined to look through the Book and write down what I want for Christmas.  However, this year I made a list of things I am guaranteed to get them if I simply ask for them. So, over the next few weeks, we are going to look through the book, not the Sears Christmas catalog, but “The Book” better known as the Holy Bible as I share with you my Christmas list for 2020.

This list might be different than any list you’ve seen before. However, in light of COVID and the uncertainty, concern, and lifestyle adjustments that it has brought, I want to make a list of the things I will need to make it through 2021 and beyond.

I hope you’ll check back each week between now and Christmas for a new post on “All I Want For Christmas.”

Searching for the King

I want to invite you to Living Oaks Baptist Church this Sunday as our choir presents, “Searching for the King.”  Our worship service starts at 10:45 a.m. and we would love to have you as our special guest.

I hope to see you Sunday!