And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 

I am five years old, or ten, or fifteen; my age doesn’t matter because in our home every Christmas is special.

My mother loved everything about Christmas and her enthusiasm was contagious. Along with my father, she managed to indulge and delight us every year. We, of course, loved it all! The lights, the trees, the manger on the mantle, the wonderful food, the anticipation on Christmas Eve, and the gifts—so many gifts! Each one very carefully selected, boxed and wrapped. It took hours to open them on Christmas morning.

Now, maybe you’re thinking that really seems excessive, over the top, and just too much. You might be right. It could have spoiled us, making us selfish and entitled. But it did not, because it was never just about the gifts. At least not the ones boxed, wrapped, and tied with a bow. The real gifts were the time spent, the attention given, the memories made, the sacrifice, and the outpouring of love. Love of the most overwhelming kind, the kind that doesn’t keep you guessing. The kind that grounds you (faith), gives you wings (hope), and makes you strong and free—all at the same time (love).

Each Christmas, and throughout my childhood, my parents’ love helped me begin to understand God’s profound love.

So my favorite gift is not one boxed, wrapped, and tied with a bow. It is love of the overwhelming kind. The kind we find in Jesus: the babe in the manger, our Savior, and our Risen Lord.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to remember that every good and perfect gift comes from you. Thank you for your unconditional and perfect love. 

Janet Harrison

About the Contributor

Janet Harrison attended FPC kindergarten and graduated from Presbyterian College. She joined FPC in 2010. Janet serves as a Stephen minister and member of Women’s Ministry Circle 3.