What do you get when you cross a Christmas tree with an ipad? A pine-apple.
What do you get when you cross a English Pointer and an Irish Setter? A Point-Setter, a Christmas dog.
I have a story. Once upon a time there was a family, a very large family, gathered around the tree on Christmas morning. They were sad. They were silent. For the first time in their lives, there were no presents under the tree. Just a crib set was there and some cotton. That’s all.
The father had lost his job, so everyone had to pitch in thei money just to make ends meet. They barely had enough for food and rent. They could not afford any gifts. They couldn’t even afford ornaments for the tree. Instead, they decorated the tree with the fancy bows that they had saved from the gift-wrappings of past Christmases.
As you can imagine, they were in a somber mood as they sat around the tree. They tried to sing a few songs, but the words just wouldn’t come out.
Suddenly, the twelve-year-old boy got an idea. He said, “Hey, if I’ve got nothing to give, maybe I can take something away. Mom, you’ve been working very hard lately. Let me take away some of your work today. I’ll give you a hand in the kitchen, anything you want.”
Then the seven-year-old girl spoke to her little brother. “Hey, you’ve been looking awfully bored lately. I’ll bet I can take away your boredom. Come on, let’s go build us a snowman.”
One of the teenagers addressed her younger sister and said, “I can tell you’ve had a lot on your mind these days and nobody’s had time to listen. I’ll try to take away your loneliness today. I’ll just listen, -- and I’ll keep it all a secret, if you want me to.”
Then the mother spoke to one of the children, “Johnny, you’ve been having a hard time in school lately, and I know you are afraid you may flunk. Since I’ll have help in the kitchen, I’ll help you with your homework today and take away some of your fear.”
Finally, dad said, “You know, I used to be able to play the piano. If you all don’t laugh too much, I’ll bet I could still play a few Christmas songs, and take away some of your frowns?”
More ideas come up, one leading to another. And soon the room came alive with excitement. Finally, dad got up, went over to the tree, picked out a bunch of the colorful bows, placed one on the little statue of Jesus in the crib, and then he started placing the other bows them on the heads of all the children, upon his wife, and upon his own.
“You know,” he said, “we almost forgot… We really have the most precious gifts of all. We have Jesus in our lives, and we have each other.”
2) Jesus was born poor. He was born not in a fancy castle, but in a stable. He came with no bag of presents to give. Instead, He came to take away some things.
He came to take away our confusion, by showing us how to live.
He came to take away our self-doubt, by assuring us we are beloved of His Father.
He came to take away our sins, by his gift of forgiveness.
He came to take away our fear of death, by dying and rising and opening up heaven for us.
And He came to show us how to take away the things that divide people, -- greed, hatred, lies, prejudice -- so that there would be peace on earth. There is lot to be said for taking things away.
3) Picture if you would God the Father taking brightly colored bows right now and placing them upon your heads and saying. “You are my gifts to one another. I have given you life and formed you in my image and likeness.
I have filled you with talents and abilities and charm. I have made you beautiful and good. You are precious in my eyes.
Now, share your blessings. Be gifts to one another, and help bring joy upon this earth.”
Look at what God is doing through us. He is sharing his love through us. May our lives always be a loud song, proclaiming with the angels,
“Glory to God in the highest.”