Stuff. We all have it.Make no mistake about it, our houses, cars, rooms, cupboards and even purses are filled with it. Things you once loved or didn't, now stuffed in a closet, behind a chair, under a bed or overhead in the attic.
If you were to make a list of all the stuff you have in boxes, stacked in the garage, or tossed beneath a cabinet, you couldn't. Forgotten stuff, used only for a time, not to be remembered again.
Stuff holds us in bondage. It keeps us from moving forward, from focusing on the present. And, at times, it overwhelms us. Yet, each Christmas I want more of it. I check the Sunday ads searching for it. Not only do I want more stuff, I want to give stuff to my husband and children too.
My teenage daughter Meghan, recently told me a story her college professor shared with her class. It helped me see “stuff” in a much different way.
As the students filed into the college class for their final exam, they were greeted by their teacher. He was standing beside a table of archaic looking items. As each curious student came forward, their professor explained the odd -looking objects, and then proceeded to try and sell them to his students.
“This here is an 8-track player. I'll sell it to you for $100.00.”
“Are you kidding? Those are obsolete. No one uses 8-track players anymore.” The student smirked.
“Well, how about this transistor radio? I'll give you a deal...$40.00.”
Another student peered over the table and laughed at his teacher. “That transistor radio is a dinosaur. And it only gets AM!”
“Ok, then how about this TV?” The professor waved his arm towards the gargantuan television, towering over the table.“I'll give you a bargain...$500.00.”
A chorus of students roared with laughter. “Is this a joke? I bet that TV weighs 500lbs!” The students crouched down to get a better look. “Are those dials for changing the channels? Cmon' professor!” Their laughter had them doubled over by now.
As they chuckled and giggled, their teacher calmly shared, “Men and women... some of them your own mothers and fathers, worked long hours to bring this “stuff” home to their family. Time taken away from their loved ones was used instead to bring a couple smiles, and a few light moments to those they cared about. Not much has changed today. People are working harder and longer to give those they love “stuff”. When what matters, what really counts, is time. And in time, even your newest and neatest toy this Christmas will become archaic, odd and obsolete.”
The teacher looked around his classroom. The laughter had stopped.
This Christmas, take a moment, ask the Lord to help you discover something your husband and children can't tuck away to be forgotten in a box or on a shelf. Take a walk together. Make cookies together. Share a cup of cocoa together. Cuddle on the couch together. Play a game together. Love on one another and laugh together.
Family memories should be the “stuff” we tuck away in our hearts this holiday season.
When was the last time you read a love letter? Have you ever received one? Do you remember how it felt reading words penned from the heart of someone who loves you?
The Bible is God's love letter to you.
Sixty-six books in the Bible share His story of forgiveness and hope, and a love for you that began even before He flung the universe into existence.
He loves you.
Our women's ministry is reading 66 Love Letters, by Dr. Larry Crabb. If you've never fully understood what the Bible is all about, or how and why it matters to you - get a hold of this book and meet back here each Sunday.
Written in the same way as Amy Carmichael's; His Thoughts Said...His Father Said, and Sara Young's; Jesus Calling, Author, Larry Crabb, talks to the Lord in each chapter, asking Him questions and discovers how each book of the Bible is a love letter from God to us.
You can purchase it on Amazon here, head down to your local library and check it out, or just follow along in your Bible. Each chapter of 66 Love Letters represents one book of the Bible - from Genesis to Revelation.
We will begin with chapter one in 66 Love Letters (Genesis) next Sunday (12/19) and you can comment below. Each Sunday we'll meet back here and I'll post a little something about the following chapter read and what spoke to my heart. I pray you will join us and share what God is saying to you too.
If you've never received a love letter, or if it's been years since your husband has given you one, it's time you read the greatest love letter of all...written from the hand of God to you.
My mother had no idea she'd begun a family tradition. Distracting all of us with hot cocoa andRice Krispies Treats, instead of arguing with each other about who would hang the prettiest ornaments, instead, our mouths were full of sugary heaven.
Fast forward twenty-five years, hot cocoa and Rice Krispies Treats are present in each of her four children's homes. No Christmas tree is decorated without them.
Family traditions often start with little planning and even less fanfare. Yet, they hold memory-making power. They are unique family-fingerprints we leave behind for future generations.
Christmas is a wonderful time to leave a few family fingerprints on your own little ones. I thought I’d include a few fun things to do with your children this holiday season.
Read a Book – Turn off the TV and spend a few minutes each night reading a story to your children. Whether your kids are six or sixteen, it’s a sweet time that will be remembered. Click here for a list of Christmas books to read aloud this season.
Tour of Lights – When our children were young we’d tell them to get bundled up in their pajamas and jackets. I’d make hot cocoa (I’m quite the hot-chocolate-pusher.) and bring it in the car with lids for them to enjoy. Christmas music would play on the radio as we toured the neighborhood, “Ooohing and ahhhing,” over each beautifully lit-up home.
Anonymous Santa – Our children have memories of going to the dollar store and purchasing a bag of toys. On Christmas Eve we’d park our car and black out our lights, while the children ran our wrapped gifts up to the home of an unsuspecting needy family. Don’t let money hold you back from blessing a hurting family this season. A tray of cookies and an anonymous note will touch the heart of anyone.
Operation Christmas Child – Children in other countries don’t have the Christmas morning our children have. Take your little one down to the store and fill a shoe box for a little girl or boy. If filling a shoe box isn’t your thing, most churches have “angel trees” with names of less fortunate children in your area. Pick one and bless a heart this Christmas.
Christmas Cookies—Take a plate of homemade cookies to your local police or fire department. Don’t forget your police/911 dispatchers!
Movie Night—We end our Christmas season each year with a family movie. Tired from the day, full from the food, we gather in our pajamas—pushing aside stray pieces of wrapping paper and ribbon, and cuddle up to my favorite; It’s a Wonderful Life. For me, each December 25th ends with a few tears and gratefulness for the blessings God has given me…and a reminder to Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.