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Home for the Holidays - Part 10

Jingle (and Zingle?) All The Way

Oh hey, short on time? No worries! I'd love to join you on your commute or daily walk/run, or shoot, even while you take care of that to-do list. We can't let these things get in the way of this friendship. It's just starting to get good! Click below to listen to the blogcast.

If there ever were a wide spectrum from excitement to loathe, I think holiday shopping would be it.

For some, it's a get-to.

For others, it's a have-to.

And others still, it's a forgot-to.

Wherever you fall on this spectrum, you're welcome here.

Even my best-planned years of starting Christmas gift shopping in August end with me scouring Amazon for a quick prime gift or running to the store on Christmas Eve eve (or "Christmas Adam" as Will and I like to call it).

In case you realize you're in need of a last-minute gift and there's a Buc-ee's gas station on your way, here are a few ideas for those on your list. Seriously, we've got Mama Beaver, Daddy Beaver, Grandma Beaver, Grandpa Beaver, Little Baby Beavers and Not-so-little Beavers covered in one stop! They'll never know you bought it at a gas station ...unless of course you use the beaver wrapping paper...

As I was saying... I bought my first Christmas gift in August this year. I thought it was so good, a "zinger" if you will. Not even two hours later and I realize the reason I thought it was so good is because it was! ...Last year.

You know, that's the problem with buying a zinger gift. If it's perfect for one person and you realize they already have it and duplicates are not needed in this particular area, then what do you do with the gift? You can't regift the zinger! It's far too specific to one person to be eligible for a regift.

So learn from me - before you buy a zinger gift, make sure it wasn't given last year.

Why a Zinger Gift?

Regardless of how we feel about the holiday shopping experience, we still seek to give good gifts. Why do we need to give "the zinger"? Why not give what we gave last year? It "zang" then, surely it'd "zing" again.

What if all this zinging and zanging is a response to something else - Someone else? You see, we're told in Genesis,

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. - Genesis 2:7

When God created us, He did something different than when He created the foundations of the earth and the plants and the animals. He breathed His very spirit into us. We are made in the very image of the Almighty and bear His spirit.

So again, we ask - What if all this zinging and zanging is a response to something else - Someone else? What if our longing to give good gifts - even if we don't recognize it - is because we bear the spirit of a generous God - a God who did not withhold even His only Son when it came to redeeming our lives.

Sure, there are some around us and even times when we ourselves suppress the desire to be generous. Hurt and fear will do this, but neither of these are from God.

The inner nudge to give a zinger gift, I believe, is not a culture-induced obligation or a family tradition expectation. I have to believe it's deeper than all this. Whether we confess to believe in Jesus or not, we are made to be inherently generous because we bear the spirit of a generous God. We want those we love to know we love them. We want to respond to the greatest gift we've been given...

...even if it means shopping like a mad-man to find the last available Turbo Man.

Yep, scenes of Arnold Schwarzenegger running through stores as the desperate father seeking to give his son the delight of his heart, a Turbo Man action figure, is likely filling your mind. Jingle All The Way is a classic holiday movie for me. So much so, it was the inspiration of this year's annual Christmas party. (By the way, talk about easy - half your invite list gets to show up as Santa Claus!)

In this movie, Howard (the father played by Arnold) is the quintessential last-minute shopper. It's not that he intended to forget to order "the doll" when shelves were stocked, but when life and work are busy, something has to give. So now, he gets to compete against a mailman named Myron (played by Sinbad) who has also been busy with work. (Understandably so. Hey, those packages and Christmas cards don't deliver themselves!)

But to Jamie, it's no "doll." When his dad asks what he wants for Christmas, there is no hesitation. He has the full commercial memorized:

I want the Turbo Man action figure with the arms and legs that move and the boomerang shooter and his rock'n roller jet pack and the realistic voice activator that says five different phrases including, "It's Turbo time!" Accessories sold separately; batteries not included. - Jamie, Jingle All the Way

And though it is an impossible ask, both fathers will do whatever it takes to show their sons they love them, even dress up as action figures in a Christmas Day parade.

It makes me wonder, how much more does God do this for us?

The impossible ask - reconcile humanity back into close relationship with Him forever.

If you followed along in our Bible 101 series this year, you know this is what the Bible is all about. It's our redemption story and it is a rescue mission. God did whatever it took to show us His great love for us, even when it meant sending His one and only Son to earth to die a criminal's death, to pay the price and serve as the atonement of our sins, and to be raised to new life so we can have eternal life with Him.

This is why we celebrate at Christmas. This is the zinger of all zings! There will never be another gift that zings or has more impact than this. Ever. Period.

As we prepare for Christmas this year, let's make time for fun. Let's enjoy the holiday movies and laugh through scenes of cringy neighbors and Santa workshops which turn out to be "sleazy conmen in red suits." Let's seek out zinger gifts to give, but let's remember this is all in response to THE one and only zinger gift given to us. Let's remember why we celebrate, why all this fun and tradition takes place each year.

We're going to talk more about this in the coming days, but for now, I want to leave you with a question:

What if the zinger gift is not necessarily what you bring but how you bring it?

We see this illustrated in Jingle All the Way too. Howard surprised his son, Jamie, with a Turbo Man at the end of the movie, but that wasn't what brought Jamie the most joy. Joy flooded into his heart and poured out of his young face when he saw his dad as his hero.

May we not forget the Hero of Christmas is the same Hero of our stories. May we seek to give Him the glory due His name in all we say and do.

Let's find strength in God's power to defeat evil and sin, joy in the receiving and giving of gifts and peace as we remember why we do this. May we rest knowing the desperation is finished. Because of Jesus, we are redeemed and can enjoy the presence and fullness of the Father's unrelenting, always pursuing, going-to-the-greatest-lengths love.

What a Hero we serve!

The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.

I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!

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