John 3:16 NIV
My Pomeranian, Rigel, always jumps up the minute I go to my office and set my cup of coffee on the side table. He sits close to me with front arms and paws on the windowsill and looks out while I read aloud from the Bible and devotional book and pray.
This Christmas morning, as I sat on the big overstuffed chair, my tabby cat, Sabby, jumped up into my lap, closer than usual to Rigel. Fortunately, my rescue dog is well-trained and “stays” when I say so. Just as we three were settled and I had begun reading the Bible, the phone rang. Suspecting who it was, I rose to go to the bedroom for the phone. The cat jumped to the floor. The dog followed on my heels.
As my daughter, her husband, and their thirteen-year-old son began singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” I held the phone between the two animals. They moved away in opposite directions. I laughed, enjoying the frivolity.
After “Merry Christmas” and “I love you” from each side, I settled in again on the chair, my heart cheerful. I thought about the plans for the day. On Christmas Eve, some of my family had gone to a worship service at church. This afternoon, some of the family would come and we would have finger foods and watch the movie, Star of Bethlehem. Later, other family members would come and we’d have the turkey I’d cook and all the trimmings they’d bring. We would laugh and fight over Dirty Santa, play our Alphabet Gift game, and exchange presents.
I thought of what I’d taught my children when they were growing up: that we show our love to each other by giving—whether it’s an expensive gift or a handmade card—because God showed His love to us by giving.
I looked at my pets who had returned to sit with me as I continued with my devotions for the day, which included the Bible’s Christmas story of Jesus’ birth. I thought about Rigel and Sabby and how I believe they love me, but so often I feel they just try to please me to get a treat.
That led me to think about how my actions appear to God. Am I always asking Him for treats? He’s given me the greatest treat—Jesus coming, living, dying, and resurrecting for my sins so I can have inner peace on earth and an eternal home in heaven.
So this Christmas morning, I decided to do what my daughter and her family had done for me. They had wished me a Merry Christmas and told me they loved me. So during my prayer time, I did not ask for anything nor tell God what treats I wanted. Instead, I thanked Him for what He has already given, wished God and Jesus a Merry Christmas, and told Jesus I hoped He had a Happy Birthday celebration.
What better present could we have than what God has already given? The gift is here. We just need to accept it. What a Christmas (and forever) treat!
(Photo courtesy of morguefile and hotdogcoolcat.)
(For more devotions, visit us at www.christiandevotions.us.)
Yvonne Lehman is an award-winning, best-selling author of 48 novels with more than 3 million books sold. Carolina, South Carolina, and Schoolhouse Brides sold over 100,000 each. She has written historical, contemporary, romance, women's fiction, mystery, and biblical fiction. Her works have been published by Zondervan, Thomas Nelson, David C. Cook, Guideposts, Barbour, and Bethany House. She has been published in Germany, Norway, and Holland. Yvonne is the founder and director emeritus of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and now directs the Novel Retreat Writers Conference. She lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.