Wow. I am pretty stunned today.
Gift wise (although, I do know it's not about gifts… But go with the analogy please…) this year has been a bit weird, because 1) I'm not totally sure if I'm going to be back next year, and 2) with leaving in January… I'm conscious that I already have way too much stuff to fit happily within my luggage allowance.
So it's tricky. Because the people that love you, want to bless you, because they don't know when they may see you again…
But yet, you can't give them a particularly helpful gift-list because you just can't take anymore big stuff with you.
Because gifts are a bit tricky at the best of times.
I, personally, really enjoy the search for the perfect present. I love being able to bring joy to the people that I treasure when they open something that let's them know a little of how treasured they are. Not because of the size or the expense or anything, but because of the choice.
But I appreciate that it can be difficult.
Because especially when you know someone pretty well, there's always a little bit of pressure when it comes to getting the present-choice right.
I wonder sometimes, if someone were to have to make some assumptions about your personality, just based on the Christmas presents you had received, what it would be? What do the things that the people that love and know you best say about you?
Ok, so, here are some of my Christmas Day insights 😉 In no particular order, I have been given…
A memory box made by some of my fake little sisters filled with notes and photos (THAT's one to make you well-up…)
A personalised iPad case. With some seriously great memories. And some seriously great group selfies. From my seriously best friend.
¥266,000 equivalent (SERIOUS and stunned thanks! I am more moved than I have words for actually…)
Custard the Elephant (Long but beautiful story. Ask me one day. And watch for her frequent mascot-like appearance in Japan-pictures.)
Another pair of designer glasses. That I don't need. Because I have perfect eyesight, but yet love wearing glasses. (These have lime coloured frames. To remind me of all the lime flavoured sweets I'm going to miss in Japan! ;))
7 pairs of socks… (Including Disney Princess socks, Beagle socks and Christmas socks. I love socks… Mainly because I hate having cold feet…)
A Downton Abby jigsaw puzzle. Enough said. Although Becca, this IS happening in Edinburgh… I AM that cool! 😉
Ok, I could go on… Because to be honest… People were flipping generous beggars this year…
But the gifts themselves, provide some pretty interesting insights into my personality. They reveal something of where I'm going and where I've been and what I value. They show a little of my humour. They show some of my passions. Because the people that know me best, have done a pretty good job of knowing just what to give me at just the right time.
And at church this morning, we were thinking about our trust for the God who really does know us best.
Because you can celebrate getting gifts from people, or even be disappointed in gifts from people, but we can trust that every good and perfect gift given to us from the Father of Lights (James 1) is given at the perfectly right time.
Because He knows us best.
And loves us best.
And holds all things together in His might and power.
And I have a couple of reflections about this.
Firstly, I can trust Him with every tiny detail of my life. Sometimes my heart gets so full of anxiousness or worry. I don't mean it for it to. I know I can trust God. I know his plans for me are better than anything I leave behind. But then things I thought were certain become uncertain or I don't understand timings, or, or, or… Something happens. Something that reveals that I'd actually been trying to stand on the grains of sand that can't hold me as opposed to the Rock who forever can.
He knows my heart even better than me.
He knows who I am and where I'm going and where I've been. And I can trust Him. I can submit to Him. Willingly.
Secondly, and as you would expect today, I became really heart-to-overflowing thankful for the Gift of Jesus. Which is so much more than the remembrance of His birth, but also the reality of His life, His death, His resurrection, His ascension, His return, His preeminence, His nature…
Because it still floors me with thankfulness when I think about the fact He chose to put on flesh forever.
Other people say the truth more eloquently than I ever could.
For the sake of love, He left His Father's throne. Searching for a bride, bone of His bone. Such a humble kiss to make my dust His own. Oh the beauty of this man, Jesus. Oh the beauty of this man. (Tim Reinherr)
Beautiful Mystery, You wrapped Yourself in a garment of flesh for me… Great is the mystery, the fullness of Deity, dwelling in Your body. (Jaye Thomas)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1 v 14)
I have a great deal to be thankful for. In so many more ways than I can put into words. The rescue of God is so exquisite. His healing is so overwhelming. His love is so true.
Happy Christmas everyone! I love you all! 🙂