Today the Los Angeles Times ran a short article containing a video made in rememberance of soldiers who are away from their families. It causes one to pause and think of those whose lives aren't fitting the perfect post card moment. We get caught in our own expectations each year as we deepen our credit dependency to purchase the "perfect" gift for those we love. We cook like crazy or venture out to our favorite restaurants in search of that post-card moment. Meanwhile, many don't have that option.
Among the many are our soldiers deployed overseas. They make a choice to be apart from their families for the purpose of serving their country. To do our part and appreciate their gift, my children and I dropped items in a box at the Ralph's on McBean and Decoro labelled "Operation Gratitude". It isn't enough. How do you appreciate someone who does what you can't do? How do you honor them while recognizing they are the same as you and me but serving in a different capacity?
The purpose of Christmas isn't the post-card moments or the gifts or even the gratitude for fellow men, it's the recognition of a gift we couldn't give ourselves. The gift God gave when He delivered His only Son to a lonely stable. It's the gift of eternal life which started upon the birth of Jesus. How do you really say "thank you" for such a gift? You share it.
It's my prayer this Christmas that whether the gifts overflow or don't exist at all that you know the love of Christ given to you. It can be difficult to comprehend this gift. So to simplify, let's think of other people who make sacrifices for us. Our soldiers. The video put forth on Twitter and now the L.A. Times reminds us of those whose job extends to keeping us safe. On a basic scale, Jesus gift does something similar. My brother-in-law is among those separated from family. Let's pray for our soldiers and their families while remembering the true gift of Christmas.
*Andrew Malcolm. "A Soldier's Christmas poem for all of them. Please pass it on." Los Angeles Times. December 24, 2010.