I struggle each year with buying Christmas gifts for family and friends. What would they like? What would be appropriate? Will they just toss it aside after a few minutes or days? Where can I find it? Can I afford it?
I have fond memories of a member in a church I pastored who was a retired physician. I remember well the gifts he gave me, and the gifts he gave others. Meaningful, thoughtful, and valuable. But these gifts were not wrapped in colorful paper and shiny bows. These were gifts that were wrapped in smiles and understanding eyes.
The valuable gifts that He gave — and gave to anyone — was undivided attention. When you talked with him, you were the only person in his world. He listened with a desire to understand and to care. Those gifts of his “focused attention” remain as special gifts even to this day, many years later.
I reflect on the gift that Jesus gave to this world, and to me as an individual. He came as this world’s greatest gift. As I leaf through the gospels I see Jesus on many occasions giving people the gift of His care and attention; the woman at the well, Mary & Martha, the disciples, Nicodemus, and the list goes on.
The wonderful part of Jesus’ gift is that He offers it to us today. As we spend time with Him He gives us His undivided attention. He truly listens and understands. As we bow thoughtfully in prayer He offers His gift. As we cry out in a panic situation, He listens attentively to not only the cry of our mouths, but the cry of our hearts.
This Christmas season, among the ribbon and bows, trees and holly, may we give the gifs of our focused attention to those in our world, and may we also point others to the one who abundantly gifts anyone who will call on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Mike Edge, President