We often call Christmas the “season of giving”. If you are like me, most of that giving is in material things. Toys for little ones, maybe nice clothes for older ones… maybe something really expensive for those precious ones. And of course, there is always the receiving of these fine gifts from others who have entered into the “season of giving”. Most everyone really likes being on the receiving end of a gift.
Now this article is not about to condemn such activities. In fact, I think it is really nice that we have a chance to give gifts to those we love and care about. And, it’s really nice to be on the receiving end too! At the same time, it is called the “season of giving” for a much different reason. Perhaps this story will help shed a little light.
Wealth More Precious than Jewels (Author unknown)
A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and wanted it, so the woman gave it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime.
A few days later, he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. “I’ve been thinking,” he said. “I know how valuable this stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me this stone.”
Even though this traveler had gotten hold of a precious stone that was worth a fortune, he realized that he was missing out on something even more valuable. The Giver of the gift had something of much greater worth than that stone. The traveler came back desiring that greater treasure.
We can be a lot like that traveler as we go through life. We may suddenly find ourselves in a bad situation. It could be serious, as in a health problem or divorce or death of a loved one. It could be less serious, as in feeling depressed or stressed out or in need of some material thing. Next thing we know, we find ourselves asking God for help. I imagine every one of us can recount a time when God intervened to bring us that gift we asked for.
Many of us have gone on our merry way after receiving His gift of help, forgetting that just maybe there was something far greater behind that gift. Is it possible that the One, who could give us that gift of help we needed, might actually have something more valuable to give us? Indeed, the real message of Christmas is not just that we have a God who is able to heal our broken health, or to bring comfort in the midst of great grief, or to bring peace of mind when our world is stressed out beyond belief. The message of Christmas is far deeper and greater for those who would bring their gift of life back to God and seek the more precious gift.
For those who would like to look further into that gift of Christmas, here’s some great reading from the Giver of Life Himself:
God’s richest blessings to each of you this Christmas season!