Pastor’s Message | December 2018

     Gifts.  They are on our minds and in our malls.  We may be wracking our brains for ideas on what to get for someone, or we may be delighted with what we have already found.  It is a hunt.  For gifts.

     I have to confess something.  I don’t always remember from one year to the next the gifts I have given, or worse, the gifts I have received.  That doesn’t mean that I didn’t like the gifts, I am sure I enjoyed them at the time.  I know that family and loved ones spent some of their time, and thoughts, and resources on me, and it makes me glad to think of that, even if I can’t remember in particular what was under the wrapping paper.

When we hear the saying, “It is the thought that counts,” there is actually some deep truth in that.  There is something to treasure in being thought of with love, and we can treasure others with our thoughts of them.  We can also honor others and their gifts by being mindful and noticing them in the beauty of their humanity.  After all, this is the way that God looks at us – by honoring us with His thoughts of us, and treasuring us with His love.  God gives precious gifts of His Spirit to each of us, with the intent that the gifts in each of us are to be seen and enjoyed to the benefit of all, and to inspire us to think of the Giver of these gifts.  (Read more about this in 1Corinthians, chapter 12).

As we prepare to celebrate God’s greatest gift of love to us in His Son Jesus, we are invited to be mindful in some special ways.  Here is a suggestion or two of some mindfulness exercises that you might do to prepare.  1.  In your home or office, or in the home of your loved one, look slowly around the room and notice the objects which fill the room.  Were any of these given as gifts, or handed down as precious heirlooms?  You may begin to find that the space is filled with things which were given to you.  What does this say to you about being loved and thought of?  2.  As you wrap or deliver a gift, whether to a loved one or as an offering to someone in need, hold that person(s) lovingly in your thoughts and let your heart be filled with this moment. How does this feel?  3.  As you encounter someone, whether you know them or not, really look at them.  Consider that they carry within themselves some gift given to them by God.  Greet them genuinely as someone you are glad to see (whether with “hello” or just a smile and a nod), and give thanks for them.  These are just a few simple ways to practice noticing a little bit of the world around you that Jesus came to live in.

In this season of gifts and giving, I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and in my heart.

God’s Peace to you,

Pastor Leslie M. Richard