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The Gifts That Matter Most

By Blake Boche, Campus Administrator
Norris Square, Cottage Grove, MN

Do you remember anticipating Christmas and the Holiday season as a child? I do. Every year I was excited to see what goodies would be waiting under the tree on Christmas morning. As a preview, my two brothers and I were each allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve before going to the midnight service at our church. On Christmas morning, we listened to the nativity story from Luke chapter 2, ate cinnamon rolls, and opened presents!

As I’ve grown older, the value and lure of material presents has faded a bit. As we age, we tend to trade some of our childlike anticipation for a little more stress and busyness as we prepare. However, all the work that goes into the holidays still doesn’t replace the awe and joy of the miracle we celebrate on Christmas morning. Jesus, the Son of God, is born! Emmanuel, God with Us! In our family, we still read Luke 2. My favorite part is the angels declaring that they bring “Good News of Great Joy that will be for ALL the people.”

This year’s celebrations may look a bit different at our house. We will still have presents and we will still read God’s word about this special day. We may have a few less people around us to celebrate than we usually do but I think this year in particular, our family will draw closer to this story of God being born as a baby. This story of Emmanuel that was and still is, God with Us.

The packages under our tree will be enjoyed, I’m sure. The real treasures that continue to bring joy to my heart are those we have witnessed throughout the year here at Norris Square. The true gifts that matter are the words of appreciation, the phone calls of neighbors just to check in, and the love of a community that has walked through this strange year together. No matter how we gather this Christmas, let us celebrate these gifts, for they are truly the spirit of Christmas that we cherish all year long.

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