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Heart to Heart

    by Pat Chwialkowski

The Gift that Keeps On Giving
Date Posted: February 3, 2010

When I was a little girl my favorite part of the year without a doubt was Christmas. I loved all the decorations, all the cookies my mom would make, and all the gifts that her and my dad would buy for me. Some years there were so many gifts you could barely see the bottom of the tree.

Then as I got older, the gifts became fewer, but I still always looked forward to this holiday season. Maybe it was because now I had my own house to decorate, and my own recipes to bake, and then there were the parties. I always had plenty of parties to go to (work, family, friends, and of course the neighborhood party that my husband and I would always host). At these parties there was always a ton of food and plenty of liquor to go around. I made sure I had my fair share of both. For after all, Christmas only comes once a year.

During these Christmas’ I remember enjoying singing all the songs that you hear around this time of the year. In fact, I remember a few years that my girlfriends and I actually went caroling. Do people do that anymore? And I also remember hearing the Christmas story read from the Bible each year. I always thought it was a pretty neat story. A baby born of a virgin. That’s pretty cool stuff. I even remember that I always looked forward to going to church on Christmas Eve. It was always a celebration that would give me chills down my spine. But each year, after the decorations were put away, and the gifts exchanged, life would return to normal. I would never give another thought to that baby born of a virgin. In some ways it even seemed almost sacrilegious to me, to hear the Christmas story outside the month of December.

Then it happened. It was not in December, but quite the opposite. It happened in the deep heat of the summer. It was in the summer of 1982, when I was introduced to a personal relationship with Christ, who happens to be that baby who was born of a virgin. It was a very different season in my life, none like any kind I had ever experienced. My desires for the things that I used to do, were now being replaced by new desires, as my relationship with Jesus grew. I had a new passion and hunger in my life to get to know this Jesus as much as I could, so I read my Bible everyday (including the Christmas story), and began praying with a new fervency, and even made a commitment to a fellowship with like minded people.

Then it hit me. What am I going to do at Christmas time? I knew I would still be invited to many Christmas parties like I had in the past years, so if I continued moving forward in my new spiritual journey, I was afraid by the time the holiday season arrived, my desire to drink and party would be completely gone. For at this time in my life I was still under the delusional influence that one of the main reasons for Christmas was for the parties. I decided not to worry about it until the time came closer to the holiday. I thought maybe by the time the Christmas season would roll around, I might be back to my old self again. How naïve I was!

At that time, I still did not know that once you have tasted the goodness of the Lord, you never hunger for anything more. (Psalm 34:8) I was not yet aware, that once you began following Christ, there is no better place to go. (John 6:68) And I definitely had not grasped the concept yet, that the happy times the world offers, cannot compare to the joy and peace that Christ can offer. (Romans 15:13) I was still a very young Christian, and had all this and more to learn.

Christmas of 1982 came and went without a hitch. Sure, I still decorated, and baked, and went to a couple of parties, but something was very different that year. When I began packing up all the decorations that year, I did not have the let down feeling I usually had all the previous years. In fact, the peace that I had when the season began, was still mine. And the joy that I was experiencing when the season started, was still springing from my soul, even though there was not a decoration in sight.

I don’t remember any of the gifts I got that year…but that’s okay. Because when you receive the greatest gift of alleternal life through Christyou don’t need any other gifts. And the neatest thing about this gift —it is the ONLY GIFT that keeps on giving. So for me Christmas no longer comes just once a year. I get to celebrate CHRISTmas every single day of the year. Now that’s worth singing about! Fa la la la la la la la la

For the wages of sin is death,

but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

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Founder and Director of Key Ministries located in Lexington South Carolina.  You can reach us at  .

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