And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
Ephesians 5:2



crystal_crossAll eyes in the tightly packed game room gazed intently at the heap of brightly wrapped Christmas gifts in the middle of the floor. In the background, Christmas tree lights twinkled as the aroma of chocolate chip cookies and hot wassail hung in the air. All 40 of us waited patiently for our turns to choose any gift we wanted from the treasure heap.

Anticipation mounted as the first person opened his chosen treasure. “Oh boy,” he shouted. “A tackle box!”

There was only one problem with getting such a highly sought after gift. The game of Dirty Santa allows the next person to choose a gift from the unopened pile or from any of the gifts already opened, taking it away from the one who held it. If your gift is confiscated, you can then choose again from the pile or from all the opened gifts.

Clearing his throat, number five stood for his turn, speaking crisply. “I’ll take the tackle box, please!” Shouts of laughter ensued as a loud groan escaped the lips of number four. Choosing again, number four opened a beautiful crystal cross, generating oohs and ahhs all around the room.

All of us opened gifts and jockeyed for position to obtain the greatest treasures in the room. Gifts like the tackle box were confiscated all three of the allowed times before finding a permanent home. Each time a person stood to choose a gift, the owner of the crystal cross held out his treasure offering it to anyone who would take it.

“No thank you, I’ll pass on that,” said one after the other. “Are you sure?” said its owner.  “Come on, I want that 20 quart cooler to take fishing!” Hoots of laughter echoed around the room as he whined, “Anyone else want this? Going once, going twice …”

As I sat there watching the crystal cross face rejection time after time, I couldn’t stand it anymore. “I want it!” I shouted. Silence filled the room as every eye turned to see why I was shouting. After all, it was just a game and everybody was having fun. No one meant anything by it.

But all I could think about was what that cross represented.

Christ purposefully left the grandeur of heaven to come to this violent sick earth, all because He loves us so much. Coming here represented how dedicated He was, and still is, to our rescue.

Jesus gladly sends His message of peace and goodwill to you on His birthday again this year! I pray you’ll take advantage of it and accept His cross as your most valuable Christmas present ever! As we play our games and enjoy the most beautiful time of the year, I pray we’ll all be careful to remember and respect the sacrifice it took to bring the blessings of Christmas.

Merry Christmas friends! I pray the Lord’s richest blessings upon you!

Until 2015,

Your Traveling Partner,


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