The presents that consume your life

Neighbourly Advice According to Ed

Rev. Raymond Maher

I told Ed, “We have had a week of visiting family, and their early Christmas presents to us. They gave each of us a Samson Galaxy Tab A, or tablets. I had no idea what I was getting!”

Ed responded, “It is about time your kids helped you to become more with it. When you lived next door, you couldn’t get out of your garden. You stumbled around hunting weeds like a zombie who needed to feed on them. With a tablet, you can be focused on your gadget like everyone else.” 

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I confessed to Ed that I’m worried about the wife who has gone from knitting full time to playing Tetris full time. I understand it is an addictive puzzle game. If she isn’t playing Tetris on her new tablet full time, she is watching one installment after another of Netflix on her Tab A. We are both suffering from these presents that we have never had before. The wife has mastered hers. I am still trying to get along with my computer that I have had for decades. At first, I wasn’t convinced that I would use my new tablet, so I left it alone.

Some say Christmas gifts should be useful, exciting and expensive. When God gave his Son, the baby Jesus, born of Mary in Bethlehem, He gave humankind a useful, exciting, and expensive gift beyond comparison. Jesus was God's long, promised Savior, or Messiah. As a useful Savior, Jesus gave God’s people freedom from their suffering as sinners. Jesus brought them the great excitement that He was the Messiah, that had long been promised, who was then with them, in person, at last. He was an expensive gift. His life and death on earth cost him everything. His sinless life brought him persecution and rejection. His tortured, sacrificial death on the cross brought him intense pain, shame, and disgrace. His life and death were gifts for us. In life, He obeyed the law perfectly for us and gave his obedience to God for us. In death, He suffered for our sins in our place. His gifts of righteousness and forgiveness are for everyone who will receive/use them.

Being old, I wasn’t quick to use my new gadget. My new tablet sat alone and ignored for several days until I decided to fiddle around with it. What I thought wasn’t worthy of my time or interest has turned out to be a great gift to honour.

Christians celebrate each year the gift of God to us in the Christ Child born of Mary and laid in a manager. God did not announce His Son’s birth by emails or by Facebook. To shepherds in the fields, an angel of the Lord appeared to them and announced to them, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manager.” The shepherds went to Bethlehem and found the child in the manger and came back glorying God. They did not ignore God’s gift of the Christ Child – neither should we.

 

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