Advent Day 1. The Gift of Every Spiritual Blessing.

December 1st

Your best gift?

December, Christmas and gifts… they go hand in hand don’t they?  Do you remember the best gift you’ve ever received?  How about the worst gift?

Sometimes it’s a matter of perspective.  My sister tells the story of a gift she and her husband gave to each other one year.  Gutters.  Yep, gutters.  You might not think that’s a very romantic gift but for this newly married couple building their first home, rain gutters were an extravagant luxury.  So it was a delightful welcomed gift for each!

So, there are things we want and things we need.  I believe there are three basic categories of “needs” that we all have:

Physical needs:  food, water, a roof over our head, clothes on our backs, tangible things.

Emotional needs: happiness, peace, tranquility. Those are easy to identify. 

But this third one is sometimes harder to grasp: spiritual needs.  What are spiritual needs that we have? 

One definition is from a man named Howard Clinebell.  He is a clinical psychologist and a university PhD.  He says we all have at least seven spiritual needs in our core.  The first is this:  “All people need to experience regularly the healing and empowerment of love – from others, from self, and from God.” [1]  Love!

Paul says right off the bat, in Ephesians Chapter 1, verse 3 that Jesus “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”  Jesus is the source of spiritual blessings!  It makes sense to me that even the worldly scientist says that spiritual blessing is love, because we know that 1st John 4:8 says that “God is love.” Jesus is the One who gives us the greatest gift we can have… every spiritual blessing… Love!

You know, I can live without physical needs… like a house or food, for while anyway.   I can survive without emotional needs, I don’t have to be happy.  But, I would say that none of us can fully live the lives that God has for us without embracing the unlimited spiritual need of love — provided by the grace-filled hands of Jesus.

And that gets us back to the Greatest Gifts.  John 3:16 says that “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, Jesus, that whoever believes in Him may not die but have eternal life.” 

Open your hands and receive the first gift of the Season, the Gift of Love, the Gift of Every Spiritual Blessing!

 

God, thank you for the Gift of every spiritual blessing.  Let me receive it with joy. Let me receive Your Love this Season.  And let me give joy and love to others.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


[1] Clinebell, H.J. (1992). Well Being: A Personal Plan for Exploring and Enriching the Seven Dimensions of Life: Mind, Body, Spirit, Love Work, Play, the World. New York, NY: Harper Collins.

(c) 2011 Rich Ronald

Giving, and Receiving, the Perfect Gift

I want to talk about gifts and giving.  Yes, I have seen most stores are already setting up Christmas décor.  It’s early October, for goodness sakes!  So, how many of you are done with your shopping?  Most of us enjoy receiving gifts… and I’m thankful that most of the people I know also thoroughly enjoy giving the right gift too. 

Have you ever given the wrong gift?  You know, like giving your wife the “gift” of a new treadmill or a fancy bathroom scale… Not a good idea, guys.  True story: my dad once gave my mom a newfangled “electric broom.”  I think it was for Christmas in 1969.  A great lesson learned for me, at the young age of 10 years old: never get anything for your wife that has anything to do with making the work she does around the house easier as a, insert air quote marks, “gift.”  Vacuum cleaners.  Water-infused-mops.  Carpet steamers.  Something that makes it easier to do laundry…. Nope.  That’s the wrong kind of “gift.”  It kindof says that they need help doing their job… So if they need it to do a better job, just buckle down and buy it. Don’t wrap it up.  Don’t wait for a special holiday.  God bless my dad for trying, but giving the “gift” of the equivelant of cleaning supplies is just not a “gift.”

At least that’s what I took away from the conversation that followed once the wrapping paper and bows landed on the floor.  So, I have adamantly refused to ever give my wife a vacuum cleaner as  a gift… and I’ve taught my kids the same thing.

Have you ever given the right gift?  The perfect gift?  I’ve heard of many people scoring on that one… a piece of jewelry, a vacation, a handmade quilt…

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