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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Reason for the Season of Christmas (12/04/08)

TITLE: To Give An Unwanted, Unneeded, Offensive Gift
By Sonya Leigh


I used to think the “reason for the season” was to give and receive unwanted, unneeded and outlandish gifts. I call these the “what-were-you-thinking?” presents, under the broader classification of oddball gifts.

One of my favorite such gifts came many years ago from a dear friend of mine. I had just given birth and was feeling large and unfashionable, down to only two outfits that fit. Eager to please me and spread the season’s cheer, my friend arrived on Christmas morning, breakfast in hand, to join our family.

We were in the midst of our traditional gift exchange, when it came time for me to open the gift box from my friend. All at once I realized I would have to feign gratitude for this garment I was pulling out-- this dress without end, as wide as it was long with enormous butterfly sleeves that fell to the floor. My eyes grew wider as my mouth lost its upward curl, revealing astonishment in lieu of delight.

The Wright brothers could have used this dress in one of their test runs.

On yet another Christmas, my family received a gift that was so intrusive, so outlandish that we could hardly believe it was earnest. My mother and father-in-law bought us a French provincial coffee table and proudly placed it right in the middle of our contemporary collection. They told us it would bear the teeth marks of their future grandchildren. What were we to do with this curvaceous anomaly in our living room? Of course, we kept it and eventually grew attached to it and the teeth marks it displayed.

The other day while pondering the upcoming Christmas Season, I thought about the many items still in various corners of our house from previous Christmases--items that I neither wanted nor needed. Why had I kept them all these years? Somewhere in the back of my mind, I think I realized that the intents far outweighed the gifts themselves. And each gift carried a purpose delivered with it.

As I turned over each oddball gift in my mind, it occurred to me that Jesus could also have been classified as one of these types of gifts. He was born into this world, unwanted, unneeded, and as an anomaly in the natural order of the world.

Unlike most infants, His arrival was unwelcome and rather uncomfortable for many: Joseph was at first bewildered by His existence, until an angel explained the purpose of the babe; Nazareth was aflame with tongues of disapproval regarding Joseph and Mary’s illegitimate child; Herod the Great was so tormented and threatened by this tiny arrival that he succumbed to devilish insanity and ordered all male children two and under to be put to death in Bethlehem.

Shepherds, angels, wise men from afar, kings and rulers were changed, impacted, awed and unnerved. Yet in all these reactions, so few realized the intent and purpose of the Giver: forgiveness, cleansing, restoration and fellowship with God.

Not only did Jesus not arrive in the package we expected but even the actual gift was far from what we imagined. Which of us, after all, would have dreamed up a gift with such a delivery?

Today, the gift goes on to be unwanted, unneeded and much too intrusive to be considered by a world dying in its own embers. Yet there is no reason better than this present season to give such a gift. Who knows, it may be that this is the season for an unripe heart to want the unwanted, to see his need for the needless, to welcome an intrusion of love and forgiveness. What better way to find out than to give Him to someone, to watch and see what God can do?

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This article has been read 772 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Judith Gayle Smith12/11/08
Powerful. Explosive. I can only wish that I had written this...
Randy Foncree12/12/08
Thanks for sharing this: too funny (in the way you penned this), though at the time I'm sure it wasn't. I try to give gifts that don't outlive their usefullness, or stand little chance of offending someone.

This year, I got my 19 year old daughter the "Love Comes Softy" movie series, directed by Michael Landon Jr. They are great movies, and something she can enjoy for years to come. Another one of my favorite gifts to give is framed original poetry. People love to have good stuff written for and about them.

Just some thoughts. Your entry made me smile. Thanks for sharing it...Merry Christmas, Randy Gene
Genia Gilbert12/14/08
Thanks for this! I have some such outlandish gifts myself! However, I have to admit I may have GIVEN some also. The love, and the heart connection behind them truly is the important thing. Lovely writing!
Genia Gilbert12/14/08
Oops! I clicked before I really finished. Thanks for reminding me of Jesus, the still unwanted gift. I hope we can simply keep offering the truth of Who He is, and that people will see that He is the Gift of gifts that gives meaning and hope to all.
Marlene Austin12/15/08
Well-written, good message. :)
Teresa Lee Rainey12/17/08
This really could be a great devotional. Your story in the beginning hooked me right away. It's personal and quite humerous (even if it is a little self-depreciating). Then you were so gentle with the message. Really good job here. :)
Jan Ackerson 12/17/08
Excellent devotional! You really hook your readers with the humor at the beginning, then give us a great aha! moment during the lesson.

(I once got a candle shaped like a very realistic meatloaf. I never had the nerve to burn it.)
Karlene Jacobsen12/17/08
The connection between unwanted, unneeded, offensive gifts, and Jesus' gift of restoration with GOD, is really good. It holds an abundance of truth.
Catrina Bradley 12/17/08
I enjoyed this devotion! I especially like that the MC still has all those "oddball" gifts, and she cherishes the thought behind each one. Very well written.
Catrina Bradley 12/17/08
I forgot to say - the last paragraph is a perfect ending, GREAT message. :)
Sheri Gordon12/18/08
Congratulations on your EC, Sonya. I agree with the others--this is an excellent Christmastime devotional. Very good job with the topic.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge12/18/08
Congratulations on your EC! I love the messages here, as their are several truths to glean. As has been said, wonderful devotional. Blessings!
Sherry Wendling01/14/09
This just sparkles! Great humor (I love the Wright Brothers comment), and beautifully developed, with an ending that firmly but gently hits home. Would you consider composing an e-Book on "How to Write Engaging Devotionals?" Methinks you could give us a few lessons!