Five Gifts of Christmas (click to comment)

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A friend admitted to me that the most stressful season of the year is Christmas. There’s presents. Parties. Decorating. Relatives. And decorating relatives. “We must get enough gifts and not favour one child over the other. Three days after Christmas toys are busted or discarded and the kids are playing with the boxes the gifts came in.” Can you relate? Have you rented storage space for stuff you stopped using last December 28th? This year let’s slow down and put experiences above stuff. Here are five gifts you can give that will be remembered long after all the stuff has been put in storage. The first gift is:

1. You. An old couple was celebrating 59 years of marriage. Their three children were all too busy to visit this year. So on December 23rd the husband called their youngest and confided, “Son, things aren’t going well with your mother and me. Counselling hasn’t worked. I don’t think we’re gonna make it.” He listened  a minute, then said, “Okay son.” Hanging up he turned to his lovely bride of 49 years and said, “Ethel, buy a turkey, the kids are coming home for Christmas!” I hope you don’t have to go to this length, but make sure amid all the busyness you take time to be with others. Give them the gift of you.

2. Contentment. Avoid frenzied shopping and you will model contentment.

3. Compassion. Is there a needy family nearby? Of all the traditions we began with our kids, this was the one they still talk about. The drop and run. You can find out who’s needy from a local church, then put together some groceries and gifts, knock on their door and take off like a cat threatened with a bath. We were only caught once. It was the year I slipped and fell. Be compassionate and generous.

4. Gratitude. Let it replace griping about cold weather and the busyness of Christmas. Go looking for things you’re grateful for.

5. Laughter. Laugh each day. Watch Danny Kaye in the Court Jester, a Callaway favourite. ‘Tis the season to be jolly. No matter what we’ve been through this past year, God is with us, there is no better reason to rejoice.”

Last year the kids asked what I would like for Christmas. I couldn’t think of one solitary thing. How about clothes that are in style? I suggested. My son said, “Nah, Dad. Why start now?” This is the season we celebrate the babe in the manger, the God who gave up everything to put on flesh and blood, and redeem us. May it never be an excuse to clutter our world. Let’s take the time to practice compassion, contentment and gratitude; I guarantee we’ll be able to laugh again.

Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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