A Better Gift

Galeries Lafayette store, Paris.Credit:  Benh LIEU SONG

Galeries Lafayette store, Paris. Credit: Benh LIEU SONG

Advent is upon us:  four weeks until Christmas!  Oh, the stress.  I just taught second graders that Advent is about preparing.  Yes, yes, my head screams:  buy presents for my three children, my husband, my brother and his children who are coming, order the turkey, decorate the house, the tree…

No.  I hear a quiet voice somewhere in my head.  Advent is the time to prepare for the real meaning of Christmas: Christ.  God.  Love.  Grace.

Thank you God, for the gifts you give us. Thank you for the wisdom and sacrifice of the ultimate role model, Jesus.  Help us try to give back to you, God by giving back to people around us.

One of the biggest gifts you can give is forgiveness. God forgives us. He expects us to forgive others.  Forgiveness is a great way to prepare your heart and open it to God.  Forgive for big and small things — your spouse fought with you, again?  Your co-worker said something unkind?  A waiter left you waiting?  Find forgiveness.

Credit:  Johann Jaritz

Step into their shoes.  Think what the situation seems like from their perspective.  Pray. Pray more.  Reflect on the fact God loves you, and calls you, by name.  God wants you to be a sign of his love.

David's Joy over Forgiveness, as in Psalm 32; Providence Lithograph Company

David’s Joy over Forgiveness, as in Psalm 32; Providence Lithograph Company

God loves them too.  So should you.  

Forgiveness is not easy, and not always immediate.  However, forgiveness is as big a gift to yourself as it is to those you forgive.

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”