A Note from Pastor Cheryl…

“The Shirt Box”

My mother and I were discussing how, over the years, our perspective on Christmas gift-giving has changed. As kids, my brother, three sisters and I spent hours poring over the Sears “Christmas Wish Book” catalog, listing our heart's desires complete with page and model number. It might have been easier to list what we didn't want! Our Official Wish Lists weren't a product of greed...we knew we wouldn't get all that stuff, but it was fun to dream and we wanted to make sure that Santa didn't face a shortage of ideas!  Read more…

During our growing up years, Grandfather Parker would always arrive at our house for Christmas loaded down with his Christmas goodies-a large ham or turkey, gifts for each of the five grandchildren and always the annual offering of chocolate-covered cherries and a Collins Street Bakery fruitcake. Santa's sleigh couldn't have been any fuller! When the time came for him to head home after the Christmas festivities, we would watch him walk to his car, usually with the gift of a single shirt box under his arm. Mother said it always made her cry to see him come with so much and leave with so little, but it had been challenging enough for her and Daddy to provide Christmas gifts for five children, and somehow even budgeting for that one shirt for my grandfather hadn't been easy. It was all they could give and yet it seemed so little in comparison to the bounty that he had provided.

Many years have passed. Grandfather Parker died in 1981 and we kids have all grown up with children and grandchildren of our own. Some years ago, I asked my mother what she wanted for Christmas, and that's when she said that it's funny how your perspective on giving and receiving changes with time. Now that she is older and at a different point in her life, she says that she realizes how joy comes with being able to give. Grandfather "received" by being able to “give” to those he loved. The size of a gift, even if it is only a shirt box, is measured by the love with which it is given.

If we are fortunate, we come to that same understanding in our journey with God. God enters into our lives with a sleigh filled with the bounty and blessings that are given to each of us. And if we are wise, we recognize that God's best gift is the giving of himself in Jesus the Christ. Most of the time, all God gets in return is a shirt box...but when it is our best and when it contains our hearts, it is enough.

May God’s blessings be upon each of you in this season of Advent and Christmas!

Pastor Cheryl