The greatest gift

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Wrapping paper by the mile has been trashed, the turkey has lost so much weight it’s down to a skeleton and the millions of dollars in toys are by now old to the children who received them. As for Christmas 2005, it is now preserved in countless Kodak Moments.

I can only hope that everyone in Gates County enjoyed Christmas as much as my family and I did. The day began sort of gloomy with a slow rain falling against a backdrop of woods bordering our home. Actually, it was kind of peaceful looking as the Christmas feast was being prepared, and isn’t Peace On Earth a major part of why Jesus Christ was born on that Earthshaking night 2005 years ago?

He was God’s gift to the World he created, which was another gift to all humanity. The fact that we abuse the Earth’s ecosystem and fail to see Jesus in a rightful light are symptoms of our failure to recognize the gifts.

As I said, people spent millions, probably billions; on everything from toys to tractor lights but the greatest gift of Christmas was the love our family demonstrated on that Holy Day. Showing love to one another isn’t by any stretch of truth something that our family does on a regular basis. It’s a race sometimes to see who can outdo each other with simple little considerations and kindness. But, on Christmas Day, all the love wells up into our eyes and inevitably tears of joy and happiness must fall.

I pray that you also had all those moments to remember and that you are not one of those families torn apart by physical or mental abuse as the three families helped this Christmas by Albemarle Hopeline.

Interviewing the executive director of the Hopeline was an immediate reminder of the fact that not all families share the love, peace and joy of Christmas, but instead they are torn apart by anger, betrayal and in some cases, grief.

Listening to Hopeline’s director speak of the gifts collected for those damaged families caused me to realize and appreciate even more the blessing of the love our family shares. The gifts of toys, clothing and foods for a festive Christmas dinner can never replace all that has been stolen from the Hopeline clients but it probably helped a few mothers show her children that many people love them.

Anyone who gave a monetary donation, or a gift of toys, clothing or food to Hopeline during Thanksgiving and Christmas also gave the gift of love for others. They should be commended for thinking of those less fortunate.

That brings us full circle back to the Greatest Gift of All, Jesus Christ.

I hope that as everyone gathered ’round their holiday dinner table families took a moment to thank God for the birth of Christ. I also hope that after the &uot;official&uot; grace was done that each member of your family took a moment to honor the Lord with a personal statement.

At our table, I heard children express their love for each family member and unprompted, for the birth of Jesus. To me, that ranked at the top of my list of Christmas gifts. After all, isn’t it true that love is the most wonderful gift of all?