Day 44: Making a List, Checking it Twice, and Overlooked Gifts

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But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:22-23

When I was a kid, I would make a list to Santa; it was a rough draft because my parents needed to review it before I sent it to the North Pole. I’m pretty sure the reason they reviewed it each year was to make sure that my list was reasonable and not putting too much pressure on the jolly old elf and was in respectable proportion to how good I was that year.

One Christmas Eve, I prepared my mind and heart for what I would receive from Santa as I could figure out what my parents had got me by the size, weight, and squishiness of each present already under the tree with my name on them. Come Christmas morning, I tried to do a quick scan of what was new under the tree since the night before and that was a challenge since I was the youngest of six kids. So we methodically and joyfully took turns opening presents until there we none left. That’s when I realized that Santa brought me nothing! Every present I opened was from my parents or a sibling. I got plenty, but nothing from Old St. Nick! I was depressed and confused; just really, really sad.

Yet tucked away behind the tree and under the tree skirt that surrounded the trunk, one overlooked gift was hiding in plain sight and it was the best gift of my childhood, an Atari video game system. What looked like the worst Christmas ever turned into the best Christmas ever, faster than you could say Asteroids.

Oftentimes in life we attempt to be thankful, we make lists, we think of silver linings, and still we lag behind in the race to be thankful. But that’s why we need to check our list again and meditate on those things we’re thankful for and make sure we didn’t miss anything. Because we usually do miss something and it’s probably the most important thing: our humble King.

When we remind ourselves of how thankful we should be for Baby Jesus, Teacher Jesus, Discipler Jesus, Healer Jesus, Sufferer Jesus, Savior Jesus, Conqueror Jesus; do you get the picture? It changes not your circumstances but your perspective. Jesus is the greatest gift to be thankful for and we overlook so much of what makes him the greatest gift. Ponder all the different ways Jesus is the greatest gift right now.

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