Advent Devotional - Cynthia Baldino

Christmas is a difficult time for me. When people ask me why, I talk about light deprivation or the commercialization of a sacred day. I hint that I prefer to celebrate the birth of my Savior in the quiet of my heart. But deep down, I know there’s another
Reason….gifts.
I can remember the first time I bought gifts with my own hard-earned money, one gift for each person on my list. I learned how to budget, how to meet needs, and how to time my giving that year. I bought a pair of textured stockings for my sister’s gift. I decided to let her open it early when I noticed that she didn’t have any decent stockings to wear to her Christmas concert at school. What JOY I felt when I saw the relief and
delight on her face!
But not every gift is a home run. There’s nothing like the sting I feel upon hearing, “Oh, thank you”, spoken with all the duty and politeness of well a brought-up recipient. It’s especially hard if then it’s time to open MY gift, and I find something truly wonderful beneath the wrapping. How unworthy, how small I feel. We all know that the Christmas is the time to celebrate God’s gift of salvation and eternal life. However, I have to admit, sometimes that feels like a five-year old receiving the gift of a pre-paid college education. I can’t imagine what it will be like; and I have to wait for what seems like forever to claim it. What do I do in the mean time?
Well, like any good parent, God has given me other gifts. Gifts that grow with me in my journey and advent. Romans 12:6-8 lists gifts, and tells me how to use them. 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 assures me that even though I may not get what my sister got, the same loving Father has made sure that each of us has exactly the right gift and that we can all share. And the giant fruit basket that is Galatians 5:22 makes sure that I am content and comforted until the day I finally collect my Big Gift and share it with Him Forever.
Do I say “Oh, thank you” like a polite and well brought-up recipient or do I dive in and joyfully, recklessly, incessantly use what God has given me? He thinks I’m worth it.
It’s up to me to show Him I appreciate it.

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