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Underwear for Christmas

My beloved Stephanie’s late Uncle Murray was notorious for giving every member of the family the same gift for Christmas each year. Uncle Murray shopped, wrapped, and distributed the presents all by himself.

Regardless of our differences in age, gender, or taste each of us received the same gift. One year we received a heavy duty flashlight. Another year, we received first-aid kits. The last Christmas that Uncle Murray was alive, we all got a pair of tube socks. They were the type worn when I played sports in high school in the 1970s.

Uncle Murray’s gift of tube socks gave me flashbacks to my childhood Christmas celebrations. I especially remember opening gifts with our family on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. My sister Marlene and I genuinely tried to be thankful about each gift, even though we were usually a little disappointed with our gifts. Every year it seemed that there were always more things like pajamas, socks, and underwear under the tree than toys, sports equipment, and games.

One Christmas afternoon I asked my mother why there were never more than one or two good presents under the tree. You know the type. Stuff that kids dream about and ask for from Santa.

I remember her reply. Mom said, “We couldn’t afford to spend more on gifts this year, so we got you what you needed.”

My interchange with Mom as a child is a good illustration of how many of us may still grapple with the giving and receiving of gifts. We may imagine wanting all kinds of stuff. We may not get what we want. But regardless of our family’s financial position, we get what we need.

We all get the gift of God’s love. Born in a manager. No batteries or assembly required. All we have to do is open our hearts and homes and receive this gift and pass it on.

Merry Almost Christmas,

Pastor Arlene

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