Spiritual Life Guide

“Giving Gifts”                     December Spiritual Guide

Every year I try to give our “children” a family gift. It’s really not one gift but a container of various items I think will bring joy. Some gifts are old-fashioned,  home-made things I know they like, things like Chex Mix that is made the original way, using an oven and taking an hour. It just beats a microwave and certainly beats a store-bought bag! Some gifts are useful, mostly unique tools for the kitchen that I find during the year. The kids may question or laugh at one of these, but they almost always call or text to say it’s actually good and they are so thankful for it! An example was “Angry Mama,” a plastic cleaner that blows her top as the vinegar and water inside her cleans the microwave. She’s funny, and she works! I still love mine!  Some gifts are “expected,” things Langston always gives like flashlights and batteries. The one year we didn’t include those we heard, “Gee! Where are the batteries? I didn’t buy batteries because I knew we’d get some. We NEED batteries.”  I also search my brain (short search lately!) for some things that are funny.  These might have to be homemade, but laughter is always part of a Denny gathering. Finally, the family gift almost always has a theme. The year Langston had a heart valve replacement and received a pig value, the theme was PIGS. The gifts had something to do with pigs, like certificates to HoneyBaked Hams, piggy banks full of coins, a pig cookie jar with homemade cookies, etc. This family gift is exactly the same for our four “children,” emphasizing they are all loved equally.

I think my God gives this way. He gives everyone things that are old-fashioned, tried and true: love, joy, peace, and more. He gives things that are useful: patience, self-control, generosity. He gives things that are expected or promised: His Presence and power, but He also gives gifts that are unique, like the gift of discernment, the gift of teaching, the gift of encouragement.  He gives gifts that are “funny,” or things that bring joy and laughter: the book of Proverbs has some funny tidbits like “It’s better to live on a roof than with a nagging spouse.” The Song of Songs contains descriptions that are funny to most of us, like the “compliment” that her hair looks like a flock of goats.  Jesus’ parables with their hyperboles (exaggerations)-easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich person to enter the Kingdom make me smile.  And God’s theme is always love, but it can be expressed differently every day/year.

James says God is the giver of all good and perfect gifts.  Like the odd things I put into the family gift box, when we first think of something we have, we might not see the value, the usefulness of it, but in time, it might turn out to be one the best gifts God has given us.  God’s “gifts” are always given at the right time and most are to be opened and used immediately. He also likes for us to “regift,” by passing along the gifts He has given us: “God comforts us so that we can comfort others.”  During December as we give and receive gifts, little and big, read the daily verses about gifts God gives and gifts we are to give. Think of HOW we are to give. Think also of being thankful for our gifts and ways we can express our thanks to those who give to us and to Central. Let me GIVE you some advice: Read the Bible every day and pray for others. That’s a GIFT you’ll give yourself.  GIVE it a try!

Merry Christmas to you  all.                                                                                                                          Bobbie Denny, spiritual lay leader

“Gifts and Giving” December Spiritual Guide
12/1 James 1:17
12/2 I Thess. 5:18
12/3 Ps. 92:1-2
12/4 Jn. 10:27-28; Rom. 6:23
12/5 Jn. 14:27
12/6 Ps. 115:16
12/7 Isa. 9:6
12/8 Matt. 6:33
12/9 Lu. 11:11-13
12/10 Rom. 5:5; I Thess. 4:8
12/11 II Cor. 5:5
12/12 Eph. 2:8-10
12/13 Eph. 4:7-8
12/14 I Cor. 15:57
12/15 Job 35:10-11
12/16 Isa. 40:29-31
12/17 Jer. 29:11-13
12/18 Lam. 3:21-24
12/19 Eccl. 3:13
12/20 Matt. 5:23-24
12/21 Jn. 4:10, 13-14
12/22 Acts 1:4-5, 2:38
12/23 Rom. 12:6; I Cor. 7:7
12/24 II Cor. 8:10-12 ALSO read Luke 2:1-7
12/25 II Cor. 9:12-15 ALSO read Luke 2:8-20
12/26 I Tim. 4:14; II Tim. 1:6-7
12/27 I Pet. 4:8-10
12/28 Rev. 22:17
12/29 Rom. 11:29
12/30 Heb. 2:3b-4
12/31 I Cor. 12:1, 4, 28, 30 ALSO read II Cor. 5:17