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A Gift that Always Fits

December 12, 2022

Let's start this week's article with a story from the Peanuts comic strip. 

Lucy decides that Linus (her little brother) must grow up and learn to live without his security blanket. So, when Linus falls asleep, she slips the blanket out of his hands, takes it outside, and buries it. Linus wakes up and discovers his blanket is missing; he panics and falls to the floor. Linus can't catch his breath. He gasps and screams, "I've got to have that blanket. I can’t live without my blanket.”

Then Snoopy sees Linus's dilemma and rises to the occasion. With his trusty nose, he goes outside and sniffs out the blanket, digs it up, and brings it back to Linus. Linus is so relieved. With one arm, he grabs the blanket, and with the other, he hugs Snoopy saying, "Oh, thank you, Snoopy. You have saved my life!" The last picture shows Snoopy lying on his back on top of the doghouse, looking contented and thinking, "Every now and then, my existence is justified."

I like that idea. Every now and then, our existence is justified, especially when we love others with sometimes sacrificial random acts of kindness and concern. Your kindness and concern are gifts that always fit. Here is another story by an unknown author that illustrates that we exist for ourselves and others. It's an excellent reminder by author James Moore for us this Christmas. 

“Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz suffering from a rare and severe disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same condition and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness.

"The doctor explained the situation to her little brother and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save her."

"As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale, and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked, trembling, "Will I start to die right away?" Being young, the little boy misunderstood the doctor; he thought he would have to give his sister all his blood to save her.”

Christmas is God's love reaching out to us even when we are far away from Him. Christmas, whether we like it or not, reminds us about God and His great concern for us. Just like that boy who was willing to die for his sister, Immanuel, or God with us, was willing to die for us. He was ready to take away our diseased blood and give us his healthy blood. 

Yes, we need Christmas to wake us up, bring us back, jog our memories and remind us of what life is all about. Let's face it; there is some 'Ebenezer Scrooge' in all of us. Just like Ebenezer, we need to be converted from selfishness to love. The willingness to love is more than enough evidence to justify our existence. 

Author James Moore says Christmas does three things for us. First, Christmas reminds us that we need a Savior. Second, Christmas reminds us that we have a Savior. Third, Christmas reminds us that we can share a Savior. Just think, every time we reach out to help others with the love of Christ, we are sharing the Savior. We love, in action, giving Christmas to those who need a little Christmas now. We are giving life to someone in need of a transfusion. The boy's gift to his sister was a gift that always fits.

Maybe we have concentrated so much on the gifts we give to one another that we have missed the gifts Christmas gives us, one of which is a justification for your existence. Your existence is evidence that there is something on earth that only you can do. You are God's workmanship for a purpose, and God doesn't make 'no' junk. 

Let’s finish with a poem by John Boyle O’Reilly who reveals to us a reason for our existence. 

"What is 'real' good?" I asked in a musing mood; "Order," said the law court; "Knowledge," said the school; "Truth," said the wise man; "Pleasure," said the fool; "Affection," said the maiden; “Beauty,” said the page; “Freedom,” said the dreamer; “Home,” said the sage; “Fame,” said the soldier; “Equity,” said the seer; But spoke my heart full sadly, “The answer is not here.” Then within my bosom, softly this I heard; “Each heart holds the secret; ‘Kindness’ is the word!”

Just like that Christmas song says, give kindness to someone special this Christmas. Like Snoopy, I can see us all lying on the top of our doghouse, looking content, and thinking, "Every now and then, my existence is justified." Now, that’s a gift that is always appropriate, a gift that money can’t buy.

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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
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