Only 10 more days until Christmas!

Dear Members and Friends,

The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image.  If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

-Thomas Merton, 20th century

Only 10 more days until Christmas!  Does that number bring you joy or panic?  Is Christmas springing itself upon you this year?  It may feel that way as the season of Advent was actually shorter on the calendar this year.  The Fourth Sunday of Advent is December 24th, which meant we really only had 3 weeks in Advent this year.  If you are not one of those who start your Christmas gift shopping on Black Friday, you may be finding yourself suddenly confronting a looming deadline that has appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

Let me offer you a gift that may help with that feeling of panic, as well as bring some peace to both your heart and your wallet.  Here are Ten Free Gifts you can give at Christmas which will be eternally appreciated.

  1. The gift of LISTENING 

Why not give this valuable gift to someone who lives alone?Of course, for this gift to truly be meaningful, you must really listen.No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your responses.Just listen.

  1. The gift of SIGNS OF AFFECTION …

Be generous with your hugs, kisses, and gentle squeezes of the hand.Let these tiny actions demonstrate the love inside YOU.

  1. The gift of a NOTE …

It can be as simple as “I Love You” or as creative as a sonnet.Put your notes where they will surprise your loved ones.

  1. The gift of LAUGHTER …

Just cut out a cartoon, save a clever article.Your gift will say, “I live to laugh with you.”

  1. The gift of a COMPLIMENT …

A simple “You have a nice smile” or “You are a good friend” or “That was a very good supper, dear” can be of the greatest value to those who may feel they are being taken for granted.

  1. The gift of a FAVOR …

Help with the dishes, clean the bathroom, take out the garbage, wash your spouse’s car, etc.

  1. The gift of LEAVING ALONE …

There are times in our lives when we want nothing better than to be left alone.Become more sensitive to those times and give solitude.

  1. The gift of a CHEERFUL DISPOSITION …

Try to be cheerful around those you love especially.

  1. The gift of a GAME …

Offer to play your loved one’s favorite game.Even if you lose, you’ll be a winner.

  1. The gift of PRAYER …

Pray for those people on your Christmas list and let them know that you pray for them.Praying for someone is a way of saying, “You are so special to me that I talk to God about you.”

I realize this was not a profound list, but in our hectic lives we all need to be reminded now and then of what is truly important.  Video games will break and grow outdated; pearl necklaces will be lost; golf clubs will rust.  But giving the gift of love will endure.  Relationships will last long past any of the material gifts we give.  In giving these 10 Free Gifts you will be giving yourself, your love, and your heart.  These will help you build what is truly important – lasting relationships.

But of course, they really aren’t free.  They require your time.  Which is truly the greatest gift you can ever give to someone else.

See you in church.


R. Steven Hudder
Pastor, Christ Congregational United Church of Christ
Palmetto Bay, Florida