Sunday, December 15, 2013

Spread the Christmas Joy with Jerusha Agen | Day 15


 Joy from Jerusha Agen
"GIMME, GIMME"

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” While straight from the Bible, this sentiment has become so popularized that most people, even in the secular culture, know the phrase and use it themselves. But how many of us believe it?

I was blessed to be raised by parents who made Christmas an unbelievably special and memorable time. I have so many wonderful Christmas memories, that I have a terrible time picking just one for this post. My mom, in particular, made our Christmases special by showing us how to give gifts with joy and thoughtfulness.

Always easy to buy for, my mom is a champion at graciously receiving gifts, as well. No matter how silly or inappropriate the gift, my mom always receives it with a smile and comes up with some reason why the item is the perfect present. As I grew older, seeing my mom’s giving nature made me want to find the actual perfect gift for her—something that would touch her heart and give her the kind of magical memories she gave us.

When shopping before one Christmas, my mom and I came across an item she loved. It was expensive and not a necessity—the kind of thing my mom couldn’t justify buying for herself. I made a mental note to discuss the item with my siblings and explore the possibility of giving it to her. With great secrecy, my siblings and I decided to get the item for our mom as a surprise for Christmas.

I knew my mom would love getting this gift, and I excitedly waited for the moment when she would see it on Christmas morning. But I had no idea this one present would mean much more than I realized.

When we gave my mom the gift on Christmas morning, her reaction was different than I expected. She was indeed extremely surprised, but I hadn’t anticipated the tears that would come. The gift we gave her took on new meaning because it touched her heart and perhaps created a precious memory for her to cherish, just as the recollection of that moment has become a cherished one for me.

My mom’s tears of joy and her happiness because of the gift we gave her made all of my presents that Christmas pale in comparison. The best moment that year was giving my mom her perfect present—a small-scale illustration of the blessedness of giving.

Yet the gift that gave my mom such joy and seemed invaluable to her might seem worthless to someone else. Not so with the ultimate gift, from the One who told us “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). At Christmastime, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the God of the universe, who gave up everything to become like us and die for our sins. He gave up wondrous things that we cannot even fully comprehend in order to give us everything.

When that baby grew up and became a man, He went to the cross to die for our sins. There, Scripture says that Christ, “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). Even with the ultimate sacrifice, the greatest gift, there is “joy.” Embrace Christ’s gift of salvation from sin and death, then give to others with joy. You’ll discover that it truly is more blessed to give than receive.
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Jerusha Agen is a lifelong lover of story--a passion that has led her to a B.A. in English and a highly varied career. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Jerusha is the author of the Sisters Redeemed Series. The first two books in the series, This Dance and This Shadow, are available now. Jerusha co-authored the e-books A Ruby Christmas (available now) and A Dozen Apologies (February 2014).

Jerusha is also a screenwriter, and several of her original scripts have been produced as films. In addition, Jerusha is a film critic, with reviews featured at the website, www.RedeemerReviews.com.

Jerusha relishes snowy Midwest winters spent with her large, furry dogs and one little, furry cat.

Visit Jerusha’s website at www.SDGwords.com. Follow Jerusha on Twitter @SDGwords and Facebook (Jerusha Agen – SDG Words).